|Book Cover from Amazon.com|
Let's start with the initial impressions. To start, I had no idea who Keith Hirshland even was. I do know the names he mentioned of certain sportscasters and am someone who loves sports, specifically American Football, baseball, and basketball. Yet, I must admit, I never heard of him before. Additionally, because it comes up in the book many times, I never had any inclination toward golf. To quote my father "There are golf people, and then there are people like us, you know, regular people". It's not something I was around, it's not ever something I wanted to watch, and that's just how I considered it.
That is until I read "Cover me boys" because, I feel differently about golf, especially televised golf. Mr. Hirshland's story starts with his parents and goes into loving detail about the dream his parents had, the station they created and ultimately sold, and the impact it had on his life. He also went into loving detail about golf, what it meant to him and his parents, and what impact it's had on him. I never thought about a sport having such an imprint on a family. This had an impact on me and shot down my dad's old theory about golf people and regular people. According to what Keith wrote they were regular people too, they just happen to play golf and owned a TV station at one time. So for a first impression, color me impressed and I consider myself intrigued by golf and golf playing people.
Allow me a moment to go into a critique and that is the "Whole Story" critique. The book is plotted in a way that there isn't a beginning, middle and ending. Instead, it's written in bursts of stories. While the initial part of the story is about his upbringing, he references it and brings up other stories from the first part through the rest of the book. There is a chronological sort of telling, however, the story isn't written in the ways fiction or even other non-fiction stories I have read, are plotted and put together necessarily. I only am mentioning it to any of you who read stories and like clear cut timelines. If you do not, or you are not a fan of going back and forth in time to tell a point or bring up a situation, be aware of this.
Onto what I enjoyed about "Cover Me, Boys". Specifically in my category of "Story Structure, Foundation, and Presentation" I was happy to see that the Kindle version has a lot of love put into it. The UI moves well, font size on default is lovely, the margins are perfect and there is no eye bending text. I am a big fan of the punctuation used in this book being on point, and the editing and spot editing done to a tea. I think this is a fun story to read and it's lightweight enough to get you through a day.
In the "Cliche Much" category, sometimes in an autobiography, you get this weird issue with the narration that the narrator can do no wrong. I'm happy to say that is not the case here. I found no cliche anecdotes or issues with the story in that way. It was nice.
Under the "lost in translation" category, while one might think the technical jargon that producers use could be confusing, or that the golf terms would be, I'm happy to report they were not. I was never lost for what was going on. I didn't feel compelled to look anything up to find out what it meant or what the term was either. That's a relief. If you have lived your life mostly in the '80s and 90's you likely will have no issues with the story and it will be interesting.
Finally, I want to go into some bits I loved about the story. There is a great story about how he was on Alex Trebeck's show "Classic Concentration" and I think I laughed at least ten times during that part.
There are some interesting bits about how he got a job at ESPN or rather, how it took a while to. There is a sad undercurrent about how he was married several times and he was always traveling so he never got to truly enjoy the home he was providing. That made me sad, and very grateful for the life I have and that my husband is home as much as he is now.
In general, I got the impression that Keith is a good man, and he has a good heart. While he admits that he made a few mistakes in his life, he overall adored his carrier and has a passion for it. Anyone can have a passion for any specific thing or hobby there is. While mine never has been to produce for TV live-action golf tournaments, I do happen to understand the passion that underlines Keith's drive in his carrier.
I sympathized with much of his story, empathized with other parts, and found myself laughing at some. Oh to have been a fly on the wall at ESPN when Craig Kilborn was there, or even when Dan Patrick and Keith Oberman were the kings of Sportscenter. That would have been amazing. I think I was 12 or 13 when that was going on, but I still love listening to Dan Patrick every day and I think that sports tie us as people to the world we live in.
Overall this book made me feel like a lucky dinner party guest, listening to the life of a man who knows many things that I have little to no interaction with. Reading his story first-hand makes me appreciate the life I have, and this story is very good. I'm glad he learned what he did, and I'm happy to know that the Golf Channel long ago, had such a good man behind the lens to help it along.
With all of that in mind, I'm giving "Cover Me, Boys, I'm Going In: Tales of the Tube from a Broadcast Brat" a score of 87/100 which is a four-star review on Goodreads and Amazon. Pick this up for your golf enthusiasts, autobiography fans, and anyone who loves television stories. It is a memorable book and it likely is going to make that person very happy!