I like stories about people who live unique lives that are filled with hope, hardship, success and setbacks. Here’s a few books and movies I’ve come across recently .
This documentary is the story of Bing Russell, who started a minor league baseball team in Portland, Oregon during the 1970s. Bing Russell was the father of the actor, Kurt Russell, who also played on the team.
Bing Russell had always been a baseball fan and even played some when he was younger. After an injury prevented him from having a career in baseball, he turned to Hollywood where he was a successful actor in Westerns, both television and film.
Later in life, he went against the norm in baseball and started an independent team not affiliated with any of the major league clubs. Because of this he was only able to recruit players who didn’t have a chance of making it to the major leagues. His players might have been too old, too slow, not skilled enough or for some other reason didn’t get signed by the established clubs.
He took this group of castoffs and put together a formidable team. They set attendance records and successfully battled against all the other established teams that were part of the major league farm system.
A baseball story for sure, but also a story about the pursuit of dreams by both the players and owner.
Another documentary, this one is about 14 year-old Laura Dekker who sailed around the world alone. A two year trip alone in a sailboat and she was 14 when she started? That’s enough of a description to know if you’ll like the film.
The movie is a combination of footage she shot while at sea that’s mixed with video of her at other points, both before the trip started and while docked in various stopover points.
Dekker is also profiled in “The Happiness of Pursuit,” a book by Chris Guillebeau, which is described below.
Chris Guillebeau’s excellent book is about quests and how they can give meaning to our lives. Chris defines a quest as the pursuit of a long-term challenge or adventure with a series of intermediate steps along the way. Chris set out on his quest of visiting every country in the world but in the process he began to hear the stories of others who had their own long-term goals or quests.
Chris tells the story of many of those people and why he thinks having a quest is an important part of a meaningful life. The wide variety of quests and the people who pursue them makes this an excellent and inspiring book.
A true story that centers around a Ukrainian who escaped hardship during WWII as a boy. He eventually moved to America where he became a music teacher.
His teaching style was strict, harsh and demanding but his students became better than anyone could ever expect. The story is told by his daughter, who grew up to play violin in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and her childhood friend, who was also his music student.
It’s a story about family, hope, hardship, love, loss, and the dedication it takes to be excellent. But mostly it’s about how the influence of one person can make all the difference.
Photo credit: Netflix