Reviews of Four Days to Glory: Wrestling With the Soul of the American Heartland; Sportsvite.com; and STAR Sportsmanship
Iowa wrestling legend Dan Gable claims that he could drive to any town in his state and find a compelling wrestling story. ESPN.com writer Mark Kreidler found two - one in tiny Coggon and another in Marion - and rolled them both into Four Days to Glory: Wrestling With the Soul of the American Heartland (HarperCollins, hardcover, $24.95). Despite its pretentious title, the book recalls Friday Night Lights by following two All-American high school seniors in their separate quests to become four-time state wrestling champions in a state that deifies its wrestlers like no other. In his epilogue, Kreidler recounts how both young men left Iowa behind to compete at Virginia Tech, but then transferred in fall 2006 to the University of Iowa and now wrestle for Gable, who recently rejoined the school's program as an assistant coach.
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Sportsvite.com began as a means to connect recreational athletes, teams and leagues by combining sports-specific targeted searches and member profiles with user-friendly invitations and game-management tools. The site works like a free social network and links individuals to approximately 3,000 teams and leagues as diverse as the RoundBallers men's recreational basketball league in Franklin, Wis., and Sparkle Motion, an all-female competitive ultimate Frisbee group in Las Vegas. As of mid-March, more than 80 sports - including a strange combination of hockey and Frisbee called "frockey" - were represented. Organizations can use Sportsvite to create their own home pages, find players, and post upcoming games and past results. The site recently secured its first round of financing and was named "Hot for 2007" by Mashable.com, a social-network blog.
Recent recognition from the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association and the Software Industry and Information Association has boosted the profile of STAR SportsmanshipTM, a Web-based interactive educational program from Learning Through Sports Inc. (learningthroughsports.com). Designed to teach students good sportsmanship through modeling and role-playing exercises that encourage them to stop and think before acting on impulse, STAR is available in versions for elementary, middle and high school students. (STAR CoachingTM is a similar program for adults.) The PIAA, in partnership with Gov. Ed Rendell and the Pennsylvania Department of Education, has introduced a pilot STAR program to 50,000 students in grades three through 12, and the SIIA named STAR Sportsmanship a finalist in its annual Codie Awards, honoring the software and information industry's strongest offerings.