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Sport Book Club | Anna Kessel – Eat, Sweat, Play: How Sport Can Change Our Lives [Review]

One of the best gifts (in my opinion) you can give is a book.  There is a book for everything, for every occasion and about pretty much anything.  I was given Anna Kessel’s book as a present a month or so ago, and it was such a lush gesture.  A book represents so much, and the reason for this is because what you find written inside the cover is invaluable, immortalised and intricate messages of wisdom: words have power.

I am a huge believer in sport and the myriad of benefits that it offers.  I am also an advocator of equality for women in sport; it’s something I feel passionate about and something I mention at least 17 times a day.  I even use examples of how sport women and writers have used language in order to convey their utter despondency about the current situation where the balance is so off it’s unfathomable in my English lessons.  The combination of sport + language = an explosive mix that has the potential to change the world.

I’m not going to convey my personal beliefs here.  This is Anna Kessel’s moment, and she really has written a truly wonderful book that is honest, raw and impeccably written – to the point you forget you’re reading non-fiction and you get lost within Kessel’s stories. In essence, that is what the book is; a collection of short stories about a mix of elite athletes, mums, grass root sport players, well, women in general.  Anna has woven stories that are truly inspirational amongst her passionate exploration of women in sport that works wonderfully because they’re real and we can all relate to it.

She is real, we’re always searching for the ‘truth’ and Anna gives us that, 100%.

As hockey players I implore you to read this novel.  Although there is a tendency to lean towards the goings on of women’s football, that is expected due to Anna Kessel’s background, especially as chair of organisation Women in Football, I still believe there are so many aspects of sport portrayed in the book that are translated into any sport where we can learn from and appreciate.

I took the book with me when I visited my family in Canada, and it made a great traveling companion; giving me plenty to delve into and consider as Kessel’s writing is entertaining, gripping and compelling.  One striking part of the book that really made an impact on me, to the point of tears, was Anna’s brave explanation her experience of miscarriage.  We are conditioned to brush things under the carpet and avoid taboo topics in case of offending someone; but Anna really respects her reader so much that she opens up to offer an insight into an intimate part of her life that you can’t feel anything but compassion and sympathy towards.  She is real, we’re always searching for the ‘truth’ and Anna gives us that, 100%.

As sports enthusiasts at whichever level there is something in here for you.  Something that will stay with you and make you want to pass the book onto someone else; because that’s exactly what you should do with a book.  A book is filled with insights, tales, wisdom, teachings and messages – and when it’s done as well as this then it’s sort of wrong to keep it to yourself.  Sharing is caring, and I advise you to not only pass it on to fellow sport enthusiasts, but pass it to people who enjoys a good read but might not be ‘into’ sport as much; because that’s what’s needed here, grow the audience outside the  fans of sport.  We already love it, let’s get more people to fall in love too!

Check out more about Anna Kessel here:

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