LJWorld.com weblogs Tale of the Tait

Book Review: Though he's no Hemingway, Reesing delivers yet again


I’m not much of a reader. Because I spend so much time writing and re-reading my own stuff, as well as dozens of other sports articles each day, I tend to prefer to get away from the written word during my down time.

When I do read, I find myself gravitating toward non-fiction stuff. I’ve never really liked to read fiction. Seems like that’s best served on the big screen. My favorite topic is books about The Beatles, of which I’ve read probably a couple dozen different titles.

Last week, though, a copy of Todd Reesing’s recently released book, “Rising to New Heights: Inside the Jayhawks Huddle,” made its way to my desk and on Sunday night I decided to start flipping through it. By Wednesday I was finished. http://www2.kusports.com/photos/2007/sep/01/131046/

Now, the Reesing book certainly fits the non-fiction flavor that I prefer, as it is packed full of real memories and wonderful moments that are sure to make even casual Jayhawk fans beam with pride. But beyond that, it truly was a joy to read.

I think the best part about the book was that it was written in a style that seemed true to Reesing. He didn’t sugarcoat anything and didn’t try to write above his means. He writes like he speaks and the words bounce off the page.

The book — like all good sports stories — opens with a bang as Reesing jumps right in to KU’s appearance in the 2008 Orange Bowl and shares some of his thoughts and memories from gameday, the contest itself and the celebration that followed.

With the book off to a rolling start, he picks up steam with a chapter about the three Border War games he played in during his time at KU. Although KU lost two of those three games to Missouri, you’d never know it from reading this chapter. Of course, the one win in that group which came on a fourth-down touchdown pass from Reesing to Kerry Meier in the snow at Arrowhead Stadium, gets plenty of play in the 237 pages of this one. As well it should.

Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing looks to pass through the Missouri defense during the fourth quarter Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008 at Arrowhead Stadium.

Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing looks to pass through the Missouri defense during the fourth quarter Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008 at Arrowhead Stadium. by Nick Krug

In addition to those thrilling subjects, Reesing also sheds some light on the injury that slowed him down throughout the second half of the 2009 season, his “benching” against Texas Tech and his take on the investigation of former KU coach Mark Mangino that ultimately led to the removal of the man who gave Reesing a chance.

The book also is full of other thoughts about Reesing — the man, the quarterback, the friend, the Jayhawk — from those who know him best — teammates, childhood friends, family members and coaches and admirers.

Another chapter takes the reader through a year in the life of a college football player. Reesing guides you on a journey that includes a look at what each week during the season was like (day by day) as well as what goes on in the offseason, the summer, with classes and even the social scene.

Other engaging subjects in the book include:

• The recruiting process that took him through Manhattan, Kan., en route to KU, complete with some pretty candid thoughts from K-State coach Bill Snyder

• The moment in the locker room at halftime of the Colorado game in 2006, when coach Mark Mangino told him he’d be starting the second half — his first appearance in a game at KU.

• A list of the most memorable plays of No. 5’s career from both Reesing’s friends and family and Reesing himself.

• What Reesing’s future might hold, including his hopes for a professional football career, what he might do if football doesn’t pan out and his thoughts on the current KU team, including new KU coach Turner Gill.

Someone asked me the other day how a guy in his early 20’s, like Reesing, could write a book about his life. At the time, the inquiry made sense. But after reading Reesing’s book, it’s obvious that this guy has enough to share to fill two books. Maybe someday it’ll come to that. But for now, there’s this one, a must-read for everyone who ever saw Reesing play and a pure delight for KU fans.

It’s a quick read with some colorful language and wonderful memories. The book, like Reesing’s career, will have you buzzing.



Steve Bunch 6 years, 7 months ago

Nice puff piece that tells us absolutely nothing about the book. The publisher couldn't have asked for more.

Fatty_McButterpants 6 years, 7 months ago

Are you blind? Seriously, are you? I ask because the entire last half of the article discusses what is in the book.

slowplay 6 years, 7 months ago

It could be a retention problem. By the time he's ready to reply, he's forgotten what the story was about. On subject, it sounds like a good read. I wonder what stores, locally, are carrying it?

verity 6 years, 7 months ago

I'm pretty sure I saw it at Borders---they have a whole section of books about KU sports.

Matt Tait 6 years, 7 months ago

They are selling it. As of Tuesday, they were sold out. But they were ordering more. I'm sure you can find it a dozen other places in town, too.

KU stores, grocery stores, on campus...

Steve Bunch 6 years, 7 months ago

The "review" lists topics covered but gives no clue as to what one might expect to learn about these topics. As I said, it's a puff piece.

Matt Tait 6 years, 7 months ago

I won't argue with that but the point of me writing the review was not to spoil it for others. I simply wanted to give people a taste of what was in the book so they could decide for themselves if they wanted to buy it and read it.

I could be wrong here, but me writing about everything that's in the book would be a pretty classless thing to do to Reesing. Those are his stories, his experiences and it's his book. I'd rather people enjoy them because they read them coming from him, not from me.

Thanks for the comments, though.

Steve Bunch 6 years, 7 months ago

I certainly wouldn't expect a reviewer to regurgitate every detail of the book, but some analysis of what was insightful and why, or what was disappointing and why, would give the reader a better feel for what to expect.

Matt Tait 6 years, 7 months ago

Gotcha. For the most part, I thought I did that.

You might have to read the book first and let me know what you think then.

Like I said, there's not a lot to it but it's a fun and easy read and it shares some fun memories from the guy who had a pretty huge part in making a lot of them.

hail2oldku 6 years, 7 months ago

Alf got through Highland Park JUCO on Cliff's Notes instead of buying the books.

You need to understand your audience better Matt so you can write to its' attention level.

Steve Bunch 6 years, 7 months ago

"its," not "it's." And "Matt," the noun of address, should be set off with commas.

riverdrifter 6 years, 7 months ago

Alf, write a book about your life & see if you can sell more copies than Todd. BTW, you give venison a bad name.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.