Book Review: Pressure Makes Diamonds A Timeless Tale of America's Greatest Pastime by J. David Miller & Ronald Joseph Kulecategories: Book, Gamecocks, Sports Story, Life Lessons, Miracle League Fields, National Champions, Ray Tanner, University South Carolina, SEC Baseball, College World Series, Carolina Baseball, Baseball
Ronald Joseph Kuleabout this book: Internationally published o-authors Ronald Joseph Kule and J. David Miller meticulously researched and wrote much more than just a chronicle of the University of South Carolina Gamecocks baseball program. From its inception in 1892 through the amazing and historic back-to-back national championship wins in 2010 and 2011 -- the university's first national championship wins in any major sport -- the program's ups and downs paralleled the lives of our nation's populace, the South's economic struggles and South Carolina's tortuous, lurching movements toward equal opportunities for all, off and on the ball field.
Ostensibly only a baseball platform, this book upon close inspection becomes far more a timeless revelation of living lessons essential for men, women and children anywhere. Here the overcoming of obstacles toward known goals teaches that happiness is never reached without someone's hard work, ethical play within the rules of the game and, after practice until nearly perfect, going with what works time after time because in life or in baseball the numbers never lie.
Three-time NCAA Division I Baseball Coach of the Year Ray Tanner's years at the helm capped a glorious rise through a gauntlet more than a century long of myriad trials, tribulations, setbacks and glories for the Gamecocks who today are one of the nation's premier college teams, playing in arguably the finest college stadium setting: $35 million Carolina Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina.
However, WHY this book came about, and WHAT its true mission is, can bring tears to dry eyes. Tanner hired Kule and Miller to help him help children with physical challenges to play baseball for the first times of their lives, and for the rest of their lives; to help fund and build a Miracle League(tm) ballpark, which, in Tanner's words, "should be as close as possible to Carolina Stadium." These ballparks are specially built for kids who love the game and want to play it, and every purchase of the book adds to the funding campaign to build such a field, an ongoing work in progress today.
Researching extensively for over three years, conducting scores of interviews with past and present players and coaches (Bobby Richardson of Yankee fame, his protege June Raines and football legend Paul Dietzel), the writers feverishly worked 12-hour days and nights, seven days a week, month after month, toward the book's completion... held to the task by their mutual promise not to compromise a single word of the quality story they wanted to tell, despite the 2010 team's winning the national championship. And then, when the Gamecocks added a second championship, they continued the work, finishing only by adding another 2011 chapter, "Extra Innings." Only then was the book released to the Gamecocks public in the form of a Limited Edition leather bound covered in true baseball leather with raised stitches and silver-foil lettering -- a collector's item, which thousands of fans purchased and embraced.
That was when Kule and Miller moved forward and produced the e-Book so that more people beyond the Gamecock Nation could discover on Amazon.com what Gamecocks Alumni and fans already knew. Replete with a foreword by Tanner, full-color photos and a gorgeous layout, PRESSURE MAKES DIAMONDS A TIMELESS TALE OF AMERICA'S GREATEST PASTIME stands as something special, but, more importantly, the words move and uplift readers to help bring about that Miracle League ballpark for children to play baseball. Bringing online the lessons of a historic purpose that embraced the lives of hundreds of young men and their mentors makes it possible for millions of readers to contribute to a heroic sports legacy that will live forever.
After all, that is exactly what Tanner, Miller and Kule intended all along.
what to read next: if you read and liked this book...
Diamond Studded BaseballDiamonds are a girl's best friend and, until I found and read "Pressure Makes Diamonds A Timeless Tale of America's Greatest Pastime" by J. David Miller and Ronald Joseph Kule, I only thought of them as the glittery gems that accessorize my wardrobe.
Frankly, I'm not a baseball nut, nor even a college-sport devotee. I am, however, a woman who believes she knows a good thing when she sees it, and this book is a good thing, believe me!
The chapter "Angel in the Outfield" alone is worth the price of the e-Book -- I cried a bucket of tears, the good kind -- but there are others that delivered so much more than I ever expected. And since I'm an avid reader, my praise is not without experienced merit.
Ladies, curl your legs up into your favorite reading chair and learn something new about not only baseball, but American history, how young men relate to their older male mentors and how we can all work together peacefully like a team, when we pursue larger goals and aspirations than our immediate selves. Here is a must-read, which I recommend without reservation. [by Sherry Kule]
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