By John Ostapkovich
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The men’s NCAA championship game tonight brings a lot of attention to what will happen on the court, but a new book about Philadelphia sports is mostly about what happens elsewhere.
More Than A Game: Life Lessons from Philadelphia’s Sports Communities is the work of Steve Parks and his son Eliot Shorr-Parks. It focuses on how athletics is intertwined with building friendships and character.
Some of its featured people are well-known, others less-so, and, says Steve Parks, one fictional.
“The beginning of our book looks at Rocky and that somehow that’s supposed to symbolize sports in Philly. But Rocky really only fought for himself or his immediate family, whereas Sonny Hill, Danny Diaz, Rami Ibrahim, they fight for their community and that’s really what I wanted to encourage people to do.”
Parks say the book focuses on those who give outside the lines. “The thing about Sonny Hill, and I think it’s emblematic of really the way sports work in Philadelphia, that Sonny Hill is known for the radio and being on TV, but he’s literally spent 40 years sitting in a gym, telling kids who come in, saying “yes, sir”, “no, sir”, shaking their hand, teaching them the rules as a way of teaching them to be adults, and I think that happens all over our city.”
The book cuts across events and years, collecting perspectives of those for whom sports is a profession, a passion or just what put steel in their backbones.