BOOKWORM: ‘Role of a Lifetime’ an unbeatable read for sports-minded fans

By Terri Schlichenmeyer

It’s Sunday afternoon and there’s nowhere you’d rather be than in front of your TV. You’ve got chips, liquid refreshment, the remote and you’re wearing your lucky slippers. Gotta support the team, you know.

But as you reach for a snack, you miss the game for just a second and something happened. You didn’t catch it. Argh! You’re momentarily lost. Thank goodness for sportscasters, right?

But what do you know about the folks who bring you the nuances of the game? Learn about one of them by reading “Role of a Lifetime” by James Brown (with Nathan Whitaker).

From almost the moment he was born in February 1951, Brown says he was a “mama’s boy.” Mrs. Brown ruled the family with an iron glove covered in velvet; she demanded excellence from her five children and she raised them with Bible verses on her lips. Mr. Brown worked hard for his family at various jobs, and likewise expected results. His parents’ high examples, morals and life lessons are the ideals that Brown still carries with him.

Despite that he’s most famous for his work with FOX and CBS during football games, Brown’s first love was basketball. He was fortunate, he says, to have had good and honest mentors during his teen years and he worked hard to make them proud. His athleticism garnered attention from several colleges, but, with the idea of a “fall-back career” in mind, he attended Harvard. Following a disappointing summer in Atlanta when Brown was turned down by basketball’s Atlanta Hawks, he took his business degree and stepped into the corporate world.

And while he was there, he learned lessons that sustained him through his career, first on local TV stations in the Washington, D.C. area; later, with FOX; and now with CBS Sports.

There are seven “ingredients” that make success, says Brown: “Good Communication Skills, Appearance, Personal Relations, Punctuality, Thirst for Knowledge, Being a Team Player, and Overcoming Adversity.” Put them all together and you’ve got a winning combination.


I didn’t much like “Role of a Lifetime” at first. The first few pages made me think this was just going to be another look-at-me sports bio and I’ve had enough of them.

But I kept reading. I’m glad I did.

Brown has written a book that goes beyond sports (although there’s plenty of that for any fan). This book is part motivational for any young person who wants to be a success. It’s part business, for anyone who needs a cautionary tale or two for advice. It’s part testimony to faith, which makes it an easy gift for anybody. “Role of a Lifetime” offers relationship advice as Brown talks about his parents’ marriage as well as his own. And, of course, it’s a biography about the friendly face you see each week on the TV but might not know a thing about.

But now here’s your chance. Pick up a copy of “Role of a Lifetime” and enjoy. If you’re a business-minded sports fan, this is an unbeatable book.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old and never goes anywhere without a book. She lives in West Salem, Wis., with her two dogs and 9,500 books.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 19
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates