Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Review: "When I Was Great"


Let's admit it, a lot of books about someone's personal sporting career can be self-serving and downright boring. That can't be said about When I Was Great by Ray Green. When I Was Great is a cheeky take on what it is like to be a rugby player in America. It's often unglamorous, riddled with injury, and full of interesting personalities.Ultimately what makes When I Was Great an enjoyable read is the fact that Ray doesn't embellish any stories and gives it to you straight. It's all about the truth behind a once great rugby career and the realization that no matter how good you are all things must pass.

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When I Was Great does a good job of not dragging on from exploit to exploit as many sports books tend to it. Green talks about his career as a young player but doesn't dwell on this particular practice or what some inspiring coach tells him. Instead, the book focuses on Greens's journey from young rugby player to national team member, to retirement in a concise manner. In many ways this is Green's cathartic look back at his own career. If you are looking for a manual on how to become a successful rugby player this isn't it. However, if you are looking for a book that relates rugby to family and trying to mesh the two this is the book for you.

For most players out there rugby is something they make a meaningful part of their lives but it doesn't become their whole life. That is what we took away from When I Was Great. Rugby can be everything to someone at one point in their life but eventually they have to stop playing, they have to look back at when they were great. It's dealing with that moment and coming to terms with both the physical and mental toll that rugby takes that makes When I Was Great so relate-able.

The biggest downside of the book is that it is only 62 pages. Green's writing style is incredibly readable. It sucks you in and leaves you wanting more at the end. That's a sign of any good book.

Every rugby fan will enjoy When I Was Great. It would make a perfect stocking stuffer for your rugby fan. The book is available at Rugby Marketplace.


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