Christmas Gift Ideas

Since Christmas is almost here, I have two sure to win suggestions for men (or at least men who have the same interests that I do).

The first idea is the book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. Hillenbrand’s first book was Seabiscuit which was about an unknown racehorse during the depression and was later made into a movie. In this new book she also uncovers an unknown athlete–Louis Zamperini.

Zamperini grew up in California and through an unlikely process discovered that he was a great runner. Because of his late start in training and his relatively young age he wasn’t able to make the 1936 U.S. Olympic Team in his best event, which was the mile, and had to settle for running the 5,000. After competing in Berlin, Zamperini set his sights on being in Tokyo in 1940.

World War 2 changed his plans forcing the cancellation of the games and sending Zamperini into the military assigned as a bombardier on the new B-29. He eventually made it to Tokyo but not in the way he expected.

The story that follows is hard to believe. I could share many highlights about the book but the best way to read it is without knowing how the story unfolds. Let’s just say that the subtitle gets it right describing the story as one of survival, resilience, and redemption. Near the end of the book, right when I thought the author was wrapping up the story and there can’t be anymore surprises, there is another turn of events that I never saw coming.

The second idea is the recently released first 15 episodes of the ESPN 30 for 30 series on DVD. I think that the series started as a way for ESPN to celebrate their 30th anniversary. The self-proclaimed “sports leader” asked 30 well known film directors to choose a sports story from the “ESPN era” and then explore it through a short film.

While I’ve only seen a couple of these, that’s kind of the point. There’s a good chance that the man you are buying for hasn’t seen them all either. And these little films are excellent mostly because they are about far more than the event they cover. The directors capture the personalities behind the story and explain the significance of what happened. Each director was given creative control of their own film and so each film has its own unique flavor.

My hunch is that Every Square Inch will be taking a bit of a break some time next week around the Christmas and New Year’s holiday. We’ll get things started back up after the first of the year. Have a great Christmas celebrating Christ’s birth.

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