Questions and Answers
Why 26 stories?
Brian: Why not? We actually started with a larger number of ideas and ended up with 28 we wrote. We assessed the fit of the stories with the overall theme, and cut away some ideas that were less compatible with it. There is no linkage to the #26, no alphabetical referencing, although we’ll try (see below)
What was the original idea for writing Corked?
Brian had filed away some general ideas years ago, but the project hadn’t gone very far. Mike was heavily involved in the analytics effort more out of his own interest in how people pick teams for fantasy football and the like. Brian and Mike collaborate on research at the University totally and we mean totally unrelated to the book project and at one quiet moment during a meeting, those attending were asked about ideas and interests beyond the specific project. From that impromptu meeting, a new path was constructed.
Do you have other ideas for stories?
Oh sure, Brian has always been interested in the poetry in motion that is sumo wrestling. Huge guys groping each other while trying to move someone else outside of a ring. There has to be a story there. In Europe, there is this odd sport called wife carrying and it pretty much follows from the title. Couples don't have to be married to participate, so the wife thing is a stretch, but the notion of carrying someone else a defined distance and doing it quickly down a mountain or through an obstacle course has our interest. There is this crazy sport in Canada and Europe called Kin-Ball where 3 teams are competing at the same time to convey an enormous inflated ball 6 feet in diameter through a gymnasium.
Objectively, we haven’t delved deeply enough into soccer, the most popular sport in the world. But there are plenty of treatments of soccer alone that are published to satisfy those for which soccer is everything. We’re not sure we have as much to contribute there, but we will consider it. It might be nice to consider other NCAA sports (wrestling, volleyball, field hockey and lacrosse) that probably have their own followings. We haven’t done horse racing, nor anything relating to the x-games. We also haven’t investigated NASCAR which we wont be doing in any sequel of the book theme.
Can readers interact with the book and authors and offer suggestions?
Absolutely! Please contact us through this website and/or Amazon. Share your stories and tell us if you like the book. We have our perceptions but it is worth testing those out to insure some sort of calibration and accuracy, there is no better way than feedback from our audience. We hope to have sufficient credibility to be able to engage relevant people who can provide insight and clarity to questions both we and our readers might have.
Tell us a little more about each chapter.
Because there are 26 chapters and 26 letters in the alphabet, for fun, we can reorganize the table of contents for an alphabetical A-Z reading based on 26 stories. For example, X can be for x-rays (Chapter 12 - Corked Bats and Doctored Balls). This can offer a little more insight into the book's contents.
Here it goes:
Letter - Title - Chapter
A - America’s Cup - 11
B - Batter’s Eye - 22
C - Curling - 16
D - Deflategate - 13
E - Eugene, Oregon - 7
F - French Open - 5
G - Georgia (Augusta) - 6
H - Home Ice - 4
I - Ice quality - 3
J - Jai Alai - 14
K - Kiss off the glass - 19
L - Lycra - 15
M - Maury Wills - 2
N - Nico Escalera - 26
O - Octopi - 25
P - Parrafin wax - 17
Q - Quiet Crowds (Sky boxes) - 21
R - Ryder Cup - 20
S - Swimming - 18
T - Turf Science - 1
U - Umpires and Referees - 23
V - Vascular manipulation - 24
W - Warriors Home Arena - 9
X - X-Rays (Baseball Bats) - 12
Y - Yards (Golf distances) - 10
Z - Zippers (Cricket) - 8
What do you do unrelated to the book; author's day jobs?
Mike is a board certified anesthesiologist and clinical researcher at the University of Michigan.
Brian is a Professor in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan. He is a prior author having written a textbook on biomaterials and his primary areas of research are linked with injectable therapies for localized drug delivery, and the physics of gel formation required to sequester drugs in localized areas. Mike and Brian have two research grants together that they are executing.
What is your favorite sport and why?
Brian Loves curling as a sport. Pure kinematics requiring teamwork, communication, and strategy. Its part shuffleboard, part ice mechanics and part chess all wrapped into one. If not curling, Brian likes baseball, not a particularly exciting game, but there are instances that are.
What's on the sports bucket list for each of you?
I think Iten, Kenya is on Brian's bucket list. I’d welcome a chance to lumber around the track there just to soak up the ambience of the place and to look at the future of track and field. I also want to watch some clay court tennis in Europe, whether at the French open of another of the spring tournaments. That would be fun.
Who would you like to meet based on what you wrote?
Brian: I would welcome a chance to meet Justine Henin, a tennis player who won several major championships now running tennis academies out of southern Belgium. She had the most effortless stroke mechanics in tennis and could teach me a thing or two about how to play tennis.
I’d welcome a chance to meet any of the Bossard family, or to hear about other stories relating to turf management and its effect on performance. I'd love to also meet Nino Escalero.
We’re in Michigan, so I would welcome a chance to learn more about management’s draft selection process based on the attributes of the team venues where they play. The Lions play inside while the Tigers are outside as is their farm club in Toledo. If the GM for the Tigers or Lions wanted to break bread and chat, I would be all over that as well. The same could be said for collegiate recruiting as well.
What did it take to write the book?
To write a book, one needs enough free time to write something generally value added every day for a while. 2000 words a day is a pretty good clip that is achievable. From that, the editing process can sharpen the tone and direction, but without a stockpile of written content, its hard to move forward. One also needs to understand the pathway for writing, what an editor is looking for, and how to distinguish ones self as an author. Having written one book already where I was a newbie, it was easier to understand the value proposition for this venture and to articulate it clearly based on my prior experience.