Saturday, August 16, 2014

Summer Reading Project: The Smart Girl's Guide to Space Jam

The Hab It Her Way Summer Reading Project is my way of sharing the misery that is reading The Smart Girl's Guide to Sports, which cost $2. Let's laugh at this together.
Got to admit, I'm pretty excited that the first chapter of this regrettable read is about basketball - a sport that I both enjoy greatly and want to learn more about. This chapter will either help me know a little more about the NBA or make me never want to watch it again. Let's dive right in, shall we?

I could've skipped the beginning of this chapter, because a lot of it is so incredibly obvious that anyone who's seen basketball in any form (like, even a scene in a movie where people are playing basketball.) Also, the worst thing in the whole chapter happens pretty early on: the author tries to wax poetic about the sport but just ends up sounding... not blatantly racist? I mean, she doesn't ever say anything outright, but she does admire basketball's hip-hop style, its urban attitude, and its jazzy rhythm. As if we don't know what she was implying.

The Fictional Suburban Mom's Guide To Sports
But then she goes on to explain actual sports things. Like the many different shots. (Luckily, we're spared from a simplistic definition like "a shot is how the ball goes from being in the player's hand to not being in the player's hand anymore, on purpose.") Anyway, the author compared shots in basketball to black pants. (I don't think she meant that in a racist way. I mean, the basketball season starts after Labor Day, so no one can really wear white pants then anyway, right? LOL jokes about clothes are so funny when you're a girl.) Why does she compare shots to pants? Because there are so many of them! The author then goes on to list all of the types of black pants a girl should own, like Monica Geller categorizing her towels. Among these categories are "uptown chic," because your black pants belong in a Billy Joel song, and "downtown funky." Let me repeat that. "Downtown funky." I have no idea who this book was written for, because I know plenty of women, and none of them have ever described a piece of their clothing as "downtown funky." If anyone ever has, it was probably Prince. And I'm like 90% sure that Prince isn't a woman.

One of the shots, as you may know, is called a "slam dunk." Maybe you've heard of it. If you haven't then please let this book teach you that it is similar to dunking a cookie in a glass of milk, but it's done with more pizzazz! You know, just like how Prince is similar to a regular human, but with more pizzazz. Raise your hand if you've ever done this to an Oreo:

Me either. I am not an All-Star.

Throughout the chapter, the author reminds readers that Michael Jordan was the greatest of all time and such, but she doesn't even mention Space Jam. Now, if you want to learn about basketball but don't already know that Michael Jordan was very good at it, you might want to rethink the whole "Smart Girl" thing. Like, you have to at least have heard of Space Jam. I know the book doesn't mention it, but if you haven't heard of Michael Jordan or Bugs Bunny, there is something very, very wrong.
I don't even remember this movie that well, so, please clear my schedule for tomorrow evening.
Anyway, when the time came for me to read Michael Jordan's profile in the Legends section, I was blown away. It actually made this book worth reading. Not only were there a few things about his life story that I didn't know, but the author presents them in a really fascinating way. These profiles are the best part of the book so far - and yes, that is a compliment. They make up for the questionable quality of just about everything else because they get right down to what being a sports fan is all about - being a part of history, and watching some incredibly talented athletes get to do what they do best. She makes readers want to know more about these players, to scour YouTube for highlights of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Dr. J. 

Now if only she had nicer things to say about Kobe. The edition of the book I have was written in 2004 or 2005, right in the wake of Kobe Bryant's sex scandal. Now, I do not blame her at all for deciding not to put Kobe Bryant on a pedestal. No one was at that time. It's just weird that the strong, feminist Smart Girl in her awoke at exactly that moment but remained dormant for everything else I've read so far. "Whoopee - he's only an adulterer, not a rapist." Her anger is justifiable, it just seems out of place. The author doesn't mention any other incidents where pro athletes did unsavory or illegal things. Tons of athletes cheated on their wives before 2004, and tons have done it since. Wouldn't they be worth talking about, too? I guess we'll see how she treats bad or illegal behaviour going forward. It just feels awkward that she singles out one athlete, rather than the entire culture of professional sports.

The chapter ends with a glossary, which contains 2 unfunny sex jokes, 1 unnecessary story about the author, 1 "women be shoppin'" joke, 1 reference to players as "hotties" and surprisingly, minimal racism!

If this book was written in 2014: It would probably be ripe with reminders that Kim Kardashian was married to a basketball player for 72 days. And LeBron James' writeup would be more than speculative. He betrayed an entire fanbase and ended up winning two rings because of it. And ladies love rings!

1 comment:

  1. How the hell did you manage to finish this book? lol


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