It’s almost football season - or so all the football displays in the big box stores tell me… I don’t usually follow the sport on a professional level, but I was right there in the bleachers all those Friday and Saturday nights in Junior High and High School, cheering on my home team!
Buy link: Northern Lights
My August book pick, Northern Lights, is more about that variety of football - the kind so many of us can relate to, and the really positive influence school athletics have on raising strong kids.
The author, Cathy Parker, is a life-long sports fan, who married a former professional football player, and went on to bring up four student athletes. She’s experienced both the highs and lows of sporting and knows the challenges that come with committing one’s self to a team - it doesn’t just affect the individual, but the entire family.
She’s so very passionate about promoting student athletics that she founded Athletes to Champions, their mission, as shared on their web site is to “Help kids build character, learn discipline and value respect through sports.” But the story of Northern Lights, is about some very specific athletes, so far removed from Parker’s intimate sphere, that it’s rather amazing a connection was ever formed..
After watching a documentary about a high school football team who played on a gravel field (often the cause of injury) in a town called Barrow, Alaska, Parker spearheaded a fundraising campaign to bring the players to Jacksonville, Fla., her home town, so that they could train.
Afterward, she started campaigning for the creation of a more modern field in Barrow, which is located within the Arctic Circle! Layers of permafrost posed an almost unsurmountable obstacle, and Parker had her work cut out for her!
Her book talks about the many many logistical nightmares involved in this undertaking, and how she grew in character and faith throughout the process. There is a LOT of distance between Jacksonville, Florida and Barrow, Alaska… this story is about bridging that distance through friendships, alliances, and determination and full of touching moments that make you feel as though you’re a part of the effort.
Although this particular game is over, reading Northern Lights, is much like watching it on replay. Cheer Parker and her supporters on from the sidelines all the way to the final scoring touchdown!
I love Cathy’s story, and Cathy herself. One more person who followed the whisper in her heart and made a difference in our world.