I have just had the most thrilling week selling and publicising the book in Grand Central Station, New York City. I was invited to do this by Tournament of Champion promoter John Nimmick, who next year completes 20 years of hosting the world’s best Squash event.
The most popular question of the week was “how long did it take you to write the book?” This was tough to answer because I feel I had been writing it for many years in various forms but the real effort came in the last 6 months. I decided to make it a full time job and committed to completing it for a release before Christmas, which I did. The point i want to make though is that the energy and confidence for completing it came when I realised within myself why I really wanted to write it and get it out there. Once I had found my true purpose for writing the book it became easy to complete.
Very simply, I want to help families reduce stress. I believe there is enough in life to worry about without turning junior sport into another problem. In my view, sport should be the time to release stress and share fun memories together. Sport is good for people in so many ways and i think it is something many of us forget. So I wanted to write a book that could simply help parents, coaches and children take some of the unnecessary misery away whilst giving reminders that competitive sport can be character building, bonding and completely enjoyable.
So as it turned out, feeling a “Calling” to help people, I wrote more from the heart than from my head. Many people who have read the book already have said it is remarkably personal and refreshingly simple. The illustrations I had created are all meant to keep the book light and loving. It is a book about relationships and emotions much more than a set of instructions, proof and rules. I work as an Academic in University and could easily have launched a barrage of research to appeal to those who like that stuff but instead I opted for a light introduction to the academic journals and research. Sometimes I believe too many books are all about the “head” and being clever and correct. As if, all things must be explained and founded in exact proof. And if the proof does not exist then all we can do is ask a meaningful question or ask for more research until we find that ONE TRUTH! I really didn’t want to make my book like that, so I preferred to include private interviews, stories, practical tips and references to films, stories and experiences with some useful research included early on. This way I believe the book has been received as a helpful guide which has empathy and understanding for the reader’s very personal and unique situation. It is not a set of rules that basically lumps you into one giant category “The Sports Parent” and proceeds to make you feel incompetent if you aren’t following the Golden template often peddled on INFOGRAPHS and snapshot posters.
My favourite comment of the week was from Carlos Paiva (below), from Sao Paulo,Brazil (who wants to translate the book into Portuguese!):
“I like it Danny, thanks very much. I don’t feel like I am being told off, which is really nice even though I can see myself in it and all the ways I’ve messed up at times. I actually wanted to keep reading because of that and it’s definitely going in. I get told off enough anyway, I don’t need a book doing it too!!” Carlos was great fun and had the sense that although he was already a great parent, he could learn from reflecting and reading some new ideas.
Finally, the nicest thing was to just have simple conversations with ordinary people who have a genuine interest in improving themselves as effective support for their children. That was the overriding theme with everyone I met in my week in Grand Central – a basic love and a drive to help one another along in life, in this case through sport.
The Winning Parent – by Danny Massaro
Available on Amazon.