About this book: (buy here)
Matt Wasowski wants you to know that it’s okay to like sports. He wants women to know it’s okay for them to like sports. He wants artists to know it’s okay for them to like sports. He wants intellectuals to know it’s okay for them to like sports too. In fact, he wants to let every sports fan know that they can even help their non-sports-loving friends, family, and significant others understand that athletics can play a positive role in all aspects of our lives.
It’s Okay to Like Sports: How Women, Artists, and Intellectuals Can Find Cultural Value in Athletics is a collection of introspective, poignant, and humorous personal essays that closely examine how nearly every aspect of Wasowski’s everyday life is affected by his love of sports. From conversing with his friends, to thinking about parenthood, to discussing one’s personal finances, Wasowski gives the reader almost unlimited access to his deepest insecurities and darkest secrets while never losing sight of the fact that sports have contributed significantly to his entire being.
Wasowski, 34, who grew up in sports-crazed Cleveland and has lived in Brooklyn for 10 years, wrote this book as a response to what he sees as the significantly negative connotation that sports has in many of New York’s social and cultural circles. He writes in the book’s opening essay: At least once a month I hear some 21-to-45-year old female acquaintance or self-proclaimed intellectual hipster make a snide comment about sports. These comments range from seemingly innocuous comments such as, “God, why would anyone waste their time watching this stuff?” (said by a tortoise-shelled bespectacled mid-30-something seated at the bar next to me) to more explicit remarks such as, “I would never date a guy who like sports.” The tones with which these comments are said similarly range from innocuous to vicious, but they always catch my attention.
As he addresses – and ultimately defends – the myriad reasons why sports are redeeming, it’s his willingness to expose his faults and deeply personal insights into his own flawed priorities which make It’s Okay so compelling. In his essay Bank Shot he ponders the idea of money being the last taboo in our society and actually reveals his entire personal financial history in order to help destroy the taboo, in his essay Talkin Sports he discusses how he ignored a friend’s need to talk about an acquaintance’s unexpected death because he was too preoccupied watching a football game, and in Coaching he reveals how his fear of being around children prohibits him from ever being an effective coach or mentor.
While novelist Jonathan Ames says that It’s Okay is geared primarily toward “sports fans with brains,” the book’s intensely personal essays makes it particularly captivating for readers who don’t know or care about sports but are willing to delve deep into the anxieties with which Wasowski wrestles when confronting so many everyday issues.