The Games Do Count: America's Best and Brightest on the Power of Sports

The Games Do Count: America's Best and Brightest on the Power of Sports

by Brian Kilmeade


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What do Henry Kissinger, Jack Welch, Condoleezza Rice, and Jon Bon Jovi all have in common? They have all reached the top of their respective professions, and they all credit sports for teaching them the lessons that were fundamental to their success. In his years spent interviewing and profiling celebrities, politicians, and top business people, popular sportscaster and Fox & Friends cohost Brian Kilmeade has discovered that nearly everyone shares a love of sports and has a story about how a game, a coach, or a single moment of competition changed his or her life.

These vignettes will entertain, surprise, and inspire readers with their insight into the lives of America's most respected and well-known personalities -- many of whom have never before shared these memories publicly. How did Henry Kissinger's experience on an all-Jewish soccer team in Nazi Germany shape him for his future role as a statesman? Why did Tony Danza need to pick himself off the canvas and score a knockout in the boxing ring to grab the part of Tony Banta in Taxi? How did Jon Bon Jovi's genes short-circuit his dreams of playing for the New York Giants, and why did that have such an important impact on his life? How did soccer, not stand-up comedy, play such a big role in Jon Stewart's staggering success in the kill-or-be-killed world of late-night talk?

Kilmeade presents more than seventy of these stories straight from the memories of the men and women themselves and those who were closest to them. From competition to camaraderie, failure to success, humiliation to glory, individual achievement to teamwork, the world of sports encompasses it all and enriches our lives. As Kilmeade observes, "They allow us to compete and sacrifice, to build character and, even if only for a moment, to transcend the everyday." The Games Do Count reveals this simple and compelling truth: America's best and brightest haven't just worked hard -- they've played hard -- and the results have been staggering!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060736736
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/12/2004
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.17(d)

About the Author

Cohost of cable television's number one morning show, Fox & Friends, Brian Kilmeade has reported on or provided live coverage of every major American sport over the last twenty years. He lives in Massapequa, New York, where he still coaches soccer.

Read an Excerpt

The Games Do Count
America's Best and Brightest on the Power of Sports

Tony Danza



I guess you could say that early on my main sport was street fighting, which just was like another game, especially if you were good at it. It was just something I did, not something I am terrifically proud of. When we were kids we used to go to a place and say, "Ah, there's no girls here, nobody to beat up, let's get out of here." You know, so it was kind of stupid, but that's the way it was.

When you're a kid in Brooklyn and you're little, like I was -- only about 89 pounds and 4'11" in tenth grade -- you have to stand up for yourself. Plus, I had a big mouth, so guys used to love to throw me over the table, just because they could. Nobody got killed, nobody got hurt too badly. It was a time when kids fought with their hands and not with guns, and so a lot of times you ended up being best friends with the guy you ended up fighting with. It had to do with some kind of respect borne out of the fight.

"I Thought I'd Gotten Drafted"

When I got older, I owned a little piece of a bar in Long Island, and a bunch of my friends all hung out there. One day they got the bright idea to enter me into the Golden Globes. They just filled out an entry blank in the Daily News and a short time later I got a notice to appear for my physical. For a second, I thought I'd gotten drafted!

I went to the bar that night, where all my friends were all laughing about it, and I said, "Okay, I'll do it." So I entered the Globes in the sub-novice class at 175 pounds, light-heavyweight,which was a lot bigger than I was at the time. I should have been fighting at 160.

"I Knew There Was Something Wrong Because
You're Not That Good A Loser"

I used to train like this: I'd sit at the bar and I'd go, "Aw, I got time for one more," and then I'd go fight.

I had a great first year. I knocked out the first six guys I fought. They were writing me up in the paper as the "Battling Bartender." "I serve mittens instead of Manhattans" -- stuff like that. I could punch a little bit, so I did okay. But then, I ran into a kid who really knew what he was doing and he beat the hell out of me at the Downtown Athletic Club. I got knocked down and I remember, as I was going down, hearing my mother scream in this kind of vortex. It was the last fight my mother ever went to. The next thing I know, I wake up in the shower. I open up the shower curtain and I see the coach, Sarge, who was this old sergeant from the Police Athletic League. I said, "Hey, Sarge, what happened?"

"Well," he said, "we're going home a little early tonight." Then he said, "You went down, but you weren't knocked out. It was interesting, because you got up and you congratulated the other fighter, you thanked the referee, you congratulated the other corner. I knew there was something wrong, because I know you're not that good a loser!"

I was in Never-Never Land. I didn't know who I was. But even though I got beat up, I was hooked. I really loved it. It was that moment when you're young when you think, "I found what I can do! What I'm really good at." That's what it felt like to me.

I went back the next year in the open class, and this time I trained. I got down to 160. I figured, if I can knock out light-heavyweights, I'll kill middle-weights. I fought the champ in the first round. He hit me with three thousand jabs. I had him down twice, but I lost the fight. Then I turned pro. Five bucks and you got your boxer's license. I went to Gleason's gym, on 28th Street in Manhattan. It was the Mecca of boxing in New York at the time. There was an older guy sitting at a counter as you walked in the door, his name was Sammy Morgan, and he had this big, bulbous nose -- obviously he had been a fighter -- and he said, "What do you want?"

I said, "I want to be a fighter."

He said, "What?"

I'm looking around -- there was all this noise -- and just as I said again, "I want to be a fighter," the bell rang, and it was quiet!

He said, "Chicky!" -- that was Chicky Ferrar, the great trainer -- This guy wants to be a fighter!"

Chicky says, "He wants to be a fighter? Come on over! Has he got equipment?"

I got dressed and Chicky said, "Show me what you got." I got in the ring, and he put a little Vaseline on me and stuck my mouthpiece in. I turned around, and there was the number sixth-ranked middle-weight in the world, Eddie Gregory, sitting across, standing across the ring -- later, he changed his name to Eddie Mustafa Mohammed and became World Champ. He beat the hell out of me. I lost my temper, which was one of my problems when I first started to fight. So I tried to hit him back and then he really beat me up. But I came back the next day, because I was hooked.

The Games Do Count
America's Best and Brightest on the Power of Sports
. Copyright © by Brian Kilmeade. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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