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Take a Shot! A Remarkable Story of Perseverance, Friendship, and a Really Crazy Adventure
by Jake Steinfeld and Dave Morrow

I don’t follow football or baseball, and even having a local team can’t get me interested in hockey. The only exception to this “no sports” lifestyle was lacrosse – in the early 2000s San Jose had a professional lacrosse team, and I loved watching the games. Unfortunately, the San Jose Stealth was only around for a few years, but during that time I was hooked. When I happened to find this book about the founding of the Major Lacrosse League, I decided that it was time to try reading a book outside my comfort zone, because I sure do miss lacrosse. (It seems worth noting that the San Jose Stealth was part of the NLL, an indoor lacrosse league, and not the MLL. But many of the players have played in both leagues. Details.)

Three men team up to create a lacrosse league. One’s Jake Steinfeld, a Hollywood fitness trainer who has worked with celebrities and starred in his own TV series. The second is Dave Morrow, founder of the Warrior lacrosse equipment. The final man in the trio is Tim Robertson, son of a famous televangelist. As other “alternative” sports leagues crash and burn in the late 1990s and early 2000s, these three rookies face endless hurdles and constant struggle as they push to make their dream of professional outdoor lacrosse a reality. Today, Major League Lacrosse is still going strong, as it has for thirteen years, but the book focuses on the turbulent founding years of the organization.

I have no idea who Jake Steinfeld is, but the way he keeps dropping celebrity names I feel like he thinks that I should. He’s the main author of the book, with a page or two by Morrow contributed to every chapter. Although he’s mentioned a few times, Tim Robertson has virtually no presence in this book – I don’t know any more about his life or personality than I did before I started reading Take a Shot! The book is written in a breezy, colloquial style that is very brisk and chatty. It’s like sitting down with a couple of guys and a case of beers and listening to them talk. For a lot of topics, I would find this style much too casual, but for a sport where men run around in shorts whacking each other with sticks? Totally works.

This is mix of memoir, sports, business start-up and inspirational pep talk – which is a lot to cover in a book that numbers less than 200 pages. It’s a bit scattered-brained and unfocused at times, and the book never delves deeply into its various topics. The nuts and bolts of the hard work behind getting a sports league off the ground are traded for funny tales of crazy investors and off-the-wall interviews. There’s more information about Jake’s Body By Jake business than about the actual history of the sport of lacrosse. The inspirational platitudes are, well, common: Dream big! Work hard! Believe in what you’re doing! While Jake and Dave and Tim were working to get their outdoor lacrosse league up and running, an indoor lacrosse league was reinventing itself as the National Lacrosse League – yet I don’t think that organization is mentioned in passing, not even once.

And yet there is something absolutely likeable about this book. I think what sells it and makes it an incredibly enjoyable read is that the enthusiasm that Jake and Dave feel for their sport shines through in every single page. It’s obvious that both men love this game, and the creation of this league is as much about helping foster awareness of the sport and creating a place for professional-level players to continue to challenge themselves as it is a forum for making money. I wish the authors had written about the full history of their league, instead of stopping at the end of the first year. They definitely had the page room! But in spite of several problems, Take a Shot! is an entertaining and worthwhile read.

3 out of 5 stars

To read more about Take a Shot!, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.

Peeking into the archives...today in:
2012: Dragonology (Ologies #1)
2011: The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory
2010: Unwritten Vol. 1 by Mike Carey and Peter Gross
2009: Going on hiatus...
2008: News: No More Ashes at Austen Museum


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