English footballers have an annoying habit of writing autobiographies*. It wouldn’t be so bad if they wrote them after retirement when they could provide a retrospective on a full career. But they’re fond of writing them when they’re just a few birthdays clear of growing hair in their armpits. Wayne Rooney, Ashley Cole, and Stephen Gerrard have all written autobiographies, none having even turned 26 yet when the books were written.
*And, since the World Cup starts this week, we can expect a whole bunch more of them to be released this summer (publishers are hoping England win it, but not out of national pride so much as the momentum that would give book sales). If you’re anything like me, you’re just going to sit on Amazon clicking refresh to get yours the first second that it’s available.
Perhaps they’re jumping the gun and the books would be much better if there were a little more life experience to include. Or perhaps it’s a preemptive move intended to get the book on shelves ahead of the less savory details all too common when one retires in his mid 30’s, such as tax scandals, marital infidelity, and multi-day post-retirement binges culminating with waking up in a cheap hotel room, a hooker you don’t remember on the bed, whilst laying in a pool of your own vomit on the floor. Or perhaps the books would in fact be better with those details. I don’t know. I’ve never read one.
Of course, it’s not as if British athletes are alone in this. Tiger Woods has written about himself, though in his case it was more about golf than him (and now we wonder why). And Lance Armstrong has done so twice. Too bad neither one included the details of their personal lives that we’re really interested in. In Tiger’s case, the press took care of that for him. In Lance’s case, Floyd Landis is doing his damnedest to get it out in the open.
And now Mark Cavendish has come out with an autobiography. Seeing as how he’s a British athlete, it’s fitting that he’s writing about himself with the immense perspective he has gained in all of a quarter century of life.
Here’s the thing, though, I may actually read this one. Why? Because for one, if I can learn anything about the way he rides from reading the book, it will have been worth it. But more importantly, even though he’s a galaxy away from me in ability, I can relate to Cavendish. He’s “too fat” to be a cyclist. The filter between his brain and his mouth is often inoperative. His parents have excellent taste in names. I have experienced all of these first hand.
I read an excerpt from the book in Velo News, and it’s actually pretty interesting. Someone obviously wrote it for him, but that someone is a decent writer. So I may check it out (literally, from the library, because I’m not sure I’d actually pay for it). Besides, who am I to criticize someone for writing an autobiography without the benefit of something worth writing about? After all, this blog is nothing more than an autobiography in serial form, and I’m nothing more than a mid-pack amateur racer. So joke’s on me since Cavendish, Cole, Gerrard, and Rooney undoubtedly made money on their books, while all I’ve got to show are some Smartwool socks. At least the socks are way awesome.