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A life beyond sports

By Anthony RhoadsI'm a sports fan. But there are some things in this life that hold my interest other than sports.

I have a friend and former co-worker who lives, breathes and eats sports 24/7. I just don't understand that. I love sports but I also have other interests.

I just can't do it.

I can't spend every waking minute watching, playing, reading about or thinking about sports.

Probably my favorite leisure activity is reading. I have had a life-long love of reading that was cultivated by my parents, who also encouraged me to read and to learn as much as I can.

I love history and am particularly interested in the American Civil War, World War II and the Vietnam War.

I have dozens of history books and have become somewhat of an amateur historian on the Civil War.

I like reading all kinds of history books but I especially like narratives that tell the personal sides of war such as All for the Union, a diary written by Elisha Hunt Rodes, who served with the Army of the Potomac for the duration of the Civil War. Some my favorite history books include Band of Brothers and Citizen Soldiers by Stephen Ambrose, We Were Soldiers Once?And Young by Hal Moore and Joe Galloway and A Life in a Year: The American Infantryman in Vietnam by Joe Ebert.

I also like reading fiction even though I don't read as many novels as I used to. My favorite author is Larry McMurtry and my favorite book is McMurtry's Lonesome Dove. For a long time, my favorite novelist was Stephen King but I have kind of lost interest in his books even though when I was younger I read just about every book he published. Some of my favorite Stephen King books are Carrie, ?Salem's Lot and The Stand.

I have also had a life-long love of comic books. I have recently gotten back into collecting, particularly comics from the late 70s-early 80s when I was growing up. My favorite titles probably are The Amazing Spider-Man, X-Men, The New Teen Titans, The New Mutants and Batman. But my all-time favorite comic book is Watchmen, a 12-part series from the mid-80s by author Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons.

I also enjoy sports books.

I don't like the brown-nosing, glossed-over, jock-worshipping type of sports books but I like books that probe into the world of sports and give us personal looks into the lives of the coaches and athletes.

My favorite sports books H.G. Bissinger's Friday Night Lights, John Feinstein's A Civil War, Tim Green's The Dark Side of the Game and the Best American Sports Writing of the Century, which features articles by such writers as Frank DeFord, Grantland Rice, Tom Wolfe, Norman Mailer, Ring Lardner, John Updike and Tom Boswell to name a few. My favorite article in the Best American Sports Writing of the Century is ?The Last American Hero,' by Tom Wolfe. The article about legendary NASCAR driver Junior Johnson originally appeared in Esquire magazine in the 1960s and it eventually was made into a movie starring Jeff Bridges in the early 1970s.

Anthony Rhoads is a sports writer for The Daily and his column appears on Wednesdays. He can be reached at arhoads@news-daily.com or sports@news-daily.com.