Book: The Sportsman

SportsmanSportsman by Dhani Jones

Publisher: Rodale Press
Publish Date: June 7, 2011
ISBN: 16096111X
ISBN-13: 9781609611118

Synopsis: Dhani Jones, power packed linebacker for the Cincinnati Bengals and host of Travel Channel’s Dhani Tackles the Globe, is no stranger to extreme adventure and sports. In his first book,THE SPORTSMAN: Unexpected Lessons From An Around-The-World Sports Odyssey, Dhani reveals the lessons he’s learned-as an athlete and global adventurer-that have made him tougher, smarter and stronger than ever.

 Now entering his 12th season in the NFL, Dhani Jones has had an unusually long career for a football player–though it didn’t come easy. In THE SPORTSMAN, Dhani shares the struggles he faced, just a few years back, when he was cut from both the Saints and the Eagles and found himself at a career-crossroads. But just when things started to turn around with the Cincinnati Bengals signing him, Dhani did the unimaginable and chanced his football career by signing up for a TV show-or what insiders referred to as a “distraction”. The idea behind,Dhani Tackles the Globe, was simple: spend a week in a foreign country, learn their indigenous sport, train, and compete against the locals. Yet, while others deemed a TV show to be detrimental to his football career, in the end, it turned out to be the greatest advantage. THE SPORTSMAN shows how traveling around the world and competing in such unique ways actually helped cross-train Dhani (both mentally and physically), giving him the edge it took to become a better football player and better man.

 THE SPORTSMAN is a travelogue infused with workout tips and adventurous stories. Dhani chronicles training techniques for exotic sports like Muay Thai boxing in Thailand (turned out to be an extreme exercise for back muscles, stomach muscles, core strength and stability), dragon boat racing in Singapore (helped him build upper body strength and wind capacity while allowing legs muscles to recover), Schwingen in Switzerland (taught Dhani how to tackle opponents more efficiently), Jai alai in Spain (helped improve his lateral quickness and upper body flexibility), and more. Traveling the world didn’t wear Dhani down as many feared; instead it energized and strengthened him-allowing him become a better player and more globally aware and grounded as a man. THE SPORTSMAN is a reminder that by connecting to the world through its people and customs and the spirit of competition, we empower ourselves in ways that can surpass even our craziest expectations.


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Dhani Jones caught my eye when he played for the Eagles. There was something about him that just stood out. Maybe it was his confidence. Maybe it was even his unique look. Either way, there was something about him that had me remembering his name.

When Dhani Jones became a host to his own show, Dhani Tackles the Globe, on the Travel Channel, I had to watch it. Let me tell you, it was not your average travel show. He took travelling to another level and tied it in with athleticism. Usually, when you think of travel, do you automatically think of sports? I don’t. I usually think of food, fashion, or culture. Sports? Hardly ever unless it’s something related to the Olympics.

So when I saw Jones’ book, The Sportsman, I just had to read it. If this book was going to reflect how he played and how he traveled, then I would most likely enjoy it.

Jones takes us on a journey throughout his life. He starts in Maryland and explains the basic foundation of his family, his life, and his whole being. Like many of us, it all starts at the beginning. Jones talks about his beliefs, his philosophies, and the way he lives his life. And from beginning to the end of The Sportsman, he lives life through them.

Jones brings us through the start of his NFL career with the NY Giants. He talks about the lessons learned of feeling young, bright, and successful. He then tells us of humbling down when he was released from the Philadelphia Eagles, and then to the reserved life he currently lives with the Cincinnati Bengals.

It does not stop there. He brings us along with him as he travels the world for Dhani Tackles the Globe. He speaks of the cultural eye openers as he travels from country to country, learning about the national sports, the cultural diversities, and breaking down stereotypes. And you know what? He brings it all back with his beliefs and philosophies, tying it all together.

The title of Dhani Jones’ book may be The Sportsman, but he writes more than just sports. His well written words come with a sharp wit. He makes you laugh about his struggles and when you’re not looking, he sneaks in a life lesson. This book is not all about athletics or playbooks, nor is it just for the sports aficionado. It is for anyone who wants to learn how to build foundations and live through life seeing how the world is connecting in ways you cannot imagine.

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