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“The experiences of these men and women aren’t so different from our own. The human body is a wonderful engine. And it wants to be pushed.” Lee Bergquist, SECOND WIND: The Rise of the Ageless Athlete (Human Kinetics, 2009)

“I asked Bass…, What is the difference between [you] and a 70-year-old man in excellent health who walks a little and putters in the Garden? ‘One thing he isn’t trying to do is challenge or improve himself,’ Bass said. ‘It sounds like he’s an old man, and that doesn’t excite me. I think you have to find something that excites you, that motivates you, so you want to get out of bed and get down to the gym.’” Lee Bergquist, SECOND WIND

Bergquist’s Second Wind Captures Ups & Downs of Ageless Athletes

For several years now, we’ve been telling you about the upcoming book by journalist Lee Bergquist delving into the lives of older men and women at the top of their sport http://www.cbass.com/News5.htm . He first contacted Clarence late in 2004, and has been in regular contact since then—by telephone, email and in person. Well, the book is finished, it was published in May (2009).

It’s all we expected, and more.

We knew Lee was working on the book long and hard. Still, we didn't fully appreciate the size and scope of his undertaking. He criss-crossed the country talking to and observing an amazing array of elite older athletes. Those profiled—studied in depth—include a female power lifter, a male speed skater, a male shot putter, three male swimmers, a female cross-country skier, a bodybuilder (Clarence), a female all-round track & field champion, a heart transplant recipient who runs marathons, a female Ironman triathlon champion, two male streak runners, a female champion swimmer, a male cross-country cyclist, and an octogenarian who knocks off marathon after marathon. They’re all passionate about what they do.

Lee tells the stories of 18 masters athletes in an informed, curious, and honest way. In addition to being an award-winning writer, Bergquist has a long-standing interest in aging and fitness. He competed in masters track and field in his 40s, and now stays in shape by sprinting, biking, swimming, and skateboarding. He’s a firm believer that “sweat is good.”

Unlike most books of this type, Second Wind looks behind every tree and under every rock. No rose-colored glasses treatment here. Think magnifying glass. Bergquist tells about these athletes, warts and all. He digs beneath the surface to see what makes each one tick, what drives them. Sometimes it’s not so pretty, but it is always interesting and instructive.

Lee explores weaknesses as well as strengths, including personal, financial, and psychological quandaries. Among other things, he probes the use of performance enhancing drugs, feelings of inadequacy, memory problems, childhood troubles, and eccentric behavior traits. As you might expect, he uncovers orthopedic problems experienced by just about everyone. He ferrets out the full and complete stories of these high performance athletes. Most of them have problems of one sort or another, and all of them have inspiring stories to tell.

Lee Bergquist has poured his heart and soul into this book. While his decades as a journalist covered “just about everything but sports,” researching, investigating, and writing this book has earned him the equivalent of a master’s degree in masters athletes. Here’s his concluding paragraph and the bottom line of his master’s thesis: The experiences of these men and women aren’t so different from our own. The human body is a wonderful engine. And it wants to be pushed.   

Amen.

Congratulations, Lee—and thank you for shining a journalistic spotlight on what challenge can do for the aging body.

SECOND WIND: The Rise of the Ageless Athlete is softback, 10 x 7, 213 pages, with an index. We will have a few copies on hand for sale. The price is $17.95 plus $6.60 priority or $4.60 media rate. Call 1-505-266-5858 of FAX 1-505-266-9123 with your credit card information. If we already have your current cc info, you can order by email. Order your copy now.

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Ripped Enterprises, P.O. Box 51236, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87181-1236 or street address: 528 Chama, N.E., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108, Phone (505) 266-5858, e-mail:  cncbass@aol.com, FAX:  (505) 266-9123.  Office hours:  Monday-Friday, 8-5, Mountain time.  FAX for international orders: Please check with your local phone book and add the following: 001-505 266-9123

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Copyright © 2009 Clarence and Carol Bass.  All rights reserved.