Non-Fiction: Sports

Wherever I Wind Up:
My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball

Written By: R.A. Dickey and Wayne Coffey

Published By: Penguin Group

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                As a fan of the New York Mets, I've watched many a player come and go - players with a great deal of potential dropping by the way side, players with incredible numbers being let go by the team at their prime, even players who bomb in New York and do amazing things as soon as they get to another team.  I've had good feelings about some, skepticism about others, but there was one recent acquisition that really caught my eye - a knuckleballer named R.A. Dickey

                Something about this guy made me believe in him and his ability to get batters out with that pitch that confounds batters royally with its fluttery movement.  There are pitchers who have thrown knuckleballs, but very few who have had successful careers doing so.  Something in R.A. Dickey's poise on that mound...something in his look, made me believe that his time with the New York Mets would be special.  So, when I heard that he had written a book with Wayne Coffey, I couldn't wait to check it out.

                In Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball, R.A. Dickey doesn't just talk about his baseball career.  Instead, he opens up about his life, revealing some of the highest points and lowest points in his life and all of the things between that helped shaped the man we see on the pitcher's mound today.  In this book, R.A. Dickey speaks quite honestly about events in his childhood that almost ruined him, causing him to live in a world of silent guilt and shame, always seeking some sort of recognition for good things he has done, but never handling praise very well.

                In being so honest about his past, his Christian beliefs, self-examinations and trials both on and off the mound, R.A. Dickey inspires others to believe in themselves and to trust in their faith.  While some ballplayers will offer up thanks to God in public forums, one gets the feeling that it's just lip service.  In this book, R.A. Dickey's honesty regarding his faith, and sometimes lack there of, gives the reader a clear vision of what this man is truly about.  When he thanks the Lord, he believes in what he is saying.  This is a man who is able to admit to his failings and isn't ashamed to remind us that he has had help in getting to that point in his life when he can.

                I found the life of R.A. Dickey to be incredibly interesting, especially since we share a common love for the written word and a love of Star Wars.  His rise in the baseball organization is truly inspiring.  Imagine being offered hundreds of thousand in a first round draft pick, only to have that taken away by a missing ligament in your elbow that has never caused you any pain and may never have been there to begin with.  To be a pitching anomaly and have that almost cost you a professional baseball's almost unthinkable. 

                And to think that the man had to reinvent himself just to survive in baseball and finally make a name for himself, using a pitch that he had toyed with since he learned how to throw it from his grandfather and making that pitch into his career building tool.  Amazing! 

                Wherever I Wind Up is written in clear, concise, down-to-earth tones and, despite the amount of credit R.A. Dickey gives Wayne Coffey for his writing, the truth is that ultimately it's the story that grabs you.  If the story wasn't so interesting, no amount of writing could make it as captivating.  I hated putting this book down for such mundane things as eating, sleeping and driving.  Despite knowing how the story would end up, I found myself rooting for the main character to succeed and wanting to know about each and every step of his journey toward that success.

                Having watched him pitch for the Mets time and time again, I knew he would become something special even before he won his twentieth game and the Cy Young Award in 2012.  I was shocked and saddened to see that, once again, the Mets traded away a brilliant asset that was just starting to truly shine.  I was a fan of R.A. Dickey before, but after reading Wherever I Wind Up, a truly inspiring biography, I will be rooting for his success no matter what team he plays for.  


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