Boomer weekend warriors can rejoice. A veteran writer and sports enthusiast, John Casey, has chronicled his decades of running, cross-country skiing, rowing, walking and canoeing in his latest book, Room for Improvement: Notes on a Dozen Lifelong Sports. Unlike many older athletes, John Casey doesn’t waste his or the reader’s time bemoaning a loss of energy or speed. Instead he delights in describing how his love affairs with certain sports began at one age and evolved as the years went by. Whether he’s detailing training for his first marathon as a means of coping with a divorce, or recounting an Outward Bound course that lasted almost a month in the winter, Casey is enthusiastic and effusive.
At times, the focus on minute particulars of an outing can be tedious, yet these are few and far between. What more than makes up for them are his relentless pursuit of the next adventure and his observations on the benefits of an active lifestyle.
In one instance, the author describes an emotional run he took after the death of his beloved father-in-law: “It wouldn’t be the last time I wanted to deal with grief by running a long way.” Readers who have hiked, skied or run a mile in those same shoes will appreciate this thoughtful book of essays.
Ellison G. Weist