The books atop my toilet



Back when I was a kid, I collected a series of books known as the Complete Handbook of …

They were compiled a published by a guy named Zander Hollander, and came out before every NFL, NBA and MLB season. I would rush to the nearly Waldenbooks to purchase the newest copy, then run home and absorb all the info. I can’t overstate how important these books were to me. I would read, then re-read and re-read and re-read. I had them memorized; the player bios and colleges and heights and weights. To this day, I would say I know the colleges of, oh, 70 percent of starting players from the 1980s NFL.

Anyhow, I saved the books, kept them on a shelf, read a copy every now and then. My son Emmett, who’s 8, also has a love of sports, and lately he’d been digging (and digging into) the Complete Handbooks as I once did. I actually rotate copies atop the toilet tank, and before he goes to the bathroom he’ll say to me, “Dad, pick a player.”

I then name some guy from the 1980s NFL (he’s mainly a football fan), and he has to find him by the time his toilet session is done. It reminds me so much of, well, me—and I love it. Hell, he’s reading and loving sports and loving the ’80s. That’s fantastic.

This morning, as I walked Emmett from the car to school, I challenged him to name as many 1980s NFL players as he could. He proceeded to offer this list …

Art Monk

Joe Theismann

Ken O’Brien

Richard Todd

Freeman McNeil

Phil Simms

Lawrence Taylor

Eric Dickerson

Marcus Allen

Earl Campbell

Billy Sims

Barry Sanders

Troy Aikman

Dan Marino

John Elway

Walter Payton

Jim McMahon

Jim Harbaugh

Bo Jackson

I might be missing one or two. But it matters not.

The kid’s got a gift.  🙂