Sunday, July 29, 2012

Book Review: Richard and Kathy Verlander's "Rocks Across the Pond"

Maybe it's time to pay attention to Richard and Kathy Verlander, better known as the parents of Detroit Tiger baseball star Justin Verlander.

Their new book offers intriguing advice and insights from the winners of the George and Barbara Bush Little League Parents of the Year Award.

"Rocks Across The Pond", subtitled "Lessons Learned, Stories Told" (Dementi Milestone Publishing, $29.95), is an enjoyable, easy-to-read book. It's full of useful ideas along with many family photos and other images that showcase Justin's amazing career.

As they note on the dust jacket, the Verlanders had "little background or experience in any kind of organized sport".  Their lives were changed when a neighbor suggested that their six-year-old son should sign up for Little League baseball.

The rest is history, but Richard and Kathy Verlander describe their experiences in a down-to-earth manner.  They smoothly relate what they've learned from raising Justin and his brother Ben, also a rising baseball player.

One of the subjects that they cover is the importance of parenting and family involvement - paying attention to the needs of the child and making sacrifices in the process.

They note that it's a constant learning process and the development of a child requires a lot of work and control.  They also stress the importance of setting a good example for the children.

In the chapter simply titled "Control", they explore the importance of self-control.  Items covered include:  work ethic, good grades, fitness, nutrition, rest, attitude, character, appearance and demeanor.  The Verlanders don't preach or go into long, boring detailed analysis.  They keep it simple, with mostly one-sentence thought-provoking words of advice.

Richard Verlander became a Little League coach; in 1995 he was the coach of the Champion Phillies in the Tuckahoe Little League.  His son, Justin, starred at Goochland County VA High School and later at Old Dominion University.

The rest is history, with Verlander becoming a Detroit Tiger superstar and winning last year's Cy Young Award, Triple Crown Award and AL Most Valuable Player Award.

Filled with many gorgeous color photos as well as numerous Verlander family images, "Rocks Across The Pond" is a great addition to the library of any serious baseball fan or aspiring parent.

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop, 
is a Detroit Tiger fan who's reviewed books regularly since 1987.
This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal
on Sunday, July 19, 2012.

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