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"Inspiring . . . Touching . . . Moving . . . Powerful . . . Westphal explores the soul of sports, finding universal truths and lessons for us all."

New York Times National Baseball Writer

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"In these pages, Kirk Westphal gives us the essence of sports. He reminds us why we liked playing and watching sports in the first place."

Boston Globe Sports Columnist and Author of Senior Year

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"Many of the sporting world’s most profound achievements and displays of humanity are never recorded. They happen on sandlots, asphalt, and backyards. Stories of well-known athletes and teams abound in popular literature. What is missing is an exaltation of the moments that can happen to any of the rest of us—and do....

No Ordinary Game is the grandstand for everyday miracles—a collection of poignant memoirs of games played without grandstands. With a touch of humor, it shows how any one of us can transcend possibility or lighten life’s burdens simply by picking up a ball. Some of the stories relive everyday miracles, while others find the souls of players ascending into the spirits of the games they play. They tell of the glory, despair, and humanity that can be found any afternoon or evening, at any playground, gym, or empty field. Anyone can find a recognizable place within these pages."

A Personal Note

When I played recreational coed softball after work throughout my thirties, I was not only the right fielder, but also the team's scribe. My duties included gathering any stray balls that drifted accidentally into right field, and then to draft entertaining summaries of the games for the unofficial record. I spent most innings thinking about appropriate adverbs and honing my split-finger infinitives. Surely, I thought, these credentials would someday improve my draft prospects. When that didn't happen, I set my pen to documenting one of our team's rather surprising seasons by arranging all of my post-game summaries and reminiscences into a unified story of that year ("The Season").

A few years later, I was on an outbound train from New York City on a hot summer night, and saw a group of boys gathered for a game of basketball on the asphalt right after supper. This iconic vision set me to writing again (a scribe's instincts die hard), and without much thinking or planning I found myself with two true stories from my own days of pickup basketball that had become somewhat astonishing with a bit of age. And these two pieces made me realize that if incredible moments in sports can happen to a right fielder / scribe / 6'-1" weak side forward, then they could happen to anyone else, too. I think it's time we tell some of our own stories as if there were fifty-thousand fans pumping their fists in the air for us. That's what this book is about.

But this book is not just a compilation of my own stories. It also contains the remarkable stories of how others have taken the field, and moved me to tears. Their stories need to be told, and in honor of the spirit that brought us together on a backyard, field, or sandlot, I will donate the royalties from this book to Special Olympics Massachusetts. Let's give as many people as we can the opportunity to create and tell their own stories, and then let's raise our hands in the air for them.

Thank you for your interest in No Ordinary Game. I hope that it brings back many of your own stories.

—Kirk Westphal

About Kirk Westphal

Kirk Westphal is a water resource engineer by day who develops water supply plans across the United States and internationally. He has long been an amateur athlete who never turns down a pickup game. By night, he writes memoirs, poetry, fiction, professional articles, and music. He lives outside of Boston, where he coaches his daughter in Little League, and his son in soccer.

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