Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Any Questions: The Sports Illustrated Big Book of WHY

Why are footballs pointy? Why are new baseballs always dirtied up before being used? Why do we stretch at the beginning of the seventh inning?

From simple questions from fairly recent history (Why do they call the Utah NBA team the JAZZ? They moved from New Orleans) to more complex questions of physics (Why are golf balls all dimply? They fly further and straighter), the new edition of Sports Illustrated Kids Big Book of Why Sports Edition (Time Entertainment, 2012) contains more than 500 questions and answers for the young sports fan. Some questions, such as "Why do we have nine innings in baseball?" (three theories, from restless Cincinnati Reds fans to President William Howard Taft's tired backside) have conflicting stories resurrected from the mists of time. Some, such as the genesis of the term "March Madness" for the NCAA tournament, are well documented in extant video evidence from 1982.

Some factoids are funny, such as the fact that "pigskin" as the nickname for footballs is derived from the initial use of a blown-up pig bladder as the ball of choice. Some facts, such as why swimmers do that underwater somersault to reverse course go deep into physics and physiology. Divided into four basic sections--Big League Questions, All-Star Questions, MVP Questions, and Hall of Fame Questions, each with its concluding self-quiz--this handy reference book is great for sports trivia buffs and for occasional browsers who just want to know something cool, with plenty of Sports Illustrated's trademark color photos of sports in action.

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