Human Highlight Reel

There once was a boy named Vincent, whose life lent itself easily to hyperbole.  One of ten children born to a single mother in abject Alabama poverty, Vincent had a severe stutter and a mean streak a mile wide.  That’s where his resemblance to mortals ended.  Superlatives lacking, tales of his exploits resembled that of baby Paul Bunyan, John Henry, and Bill Brasky.   Thing is, most of them were true.  The laws of physics and the rules of sport simply didn’t apply to Vincent.

Vincent was what analysts call a pretty decent athlete once he found an outlet for his aggression.  He landed in the state track finals in an event he first attempted a couple weeks prior…as a high school freshman.  Despite a hatred of lifting weights, Vincent exhibited Herculean feats of strength the few times he actually entered the weight room.  Not content to be good at one sport, he ridiculously dominated in all of them.   His duplicity extended into adulthood, being a star in both the NFL and MLB at the same time.    Okay, game is over.    You know Vincent better by his  nickname “Bo”, an athlete in a class all his own.  You have to go back to Jim Thorpe to find anyone of such DC Comics omnipotence.

If you made the mistake of throwing Bo a fastball , you might still be on Youtube today.  Sometimes those 500-foot home runs would damage stadium lights and scoreboards a la The Natural.  Bo regularly clocked sub-4.2 second 40m dash times.  A pedestrian 4.2 AFTER destroying his hip.  Ever see that in the NFL draft?  No, you do not.  As a running back, Bo would trample defenders so soundly their ancestors could feel it.  With a howitzer as an arm, Vincent would throw men out at home from the warning track — skipping the cutoff man.  He ran up an outfield wall.  He broke a bat over his head.  Alas, anyone of age in the late 80’s or with an internet connection has likely seen video of these exploits.

That being said, the best parts of this book are recollections of the “human” mashing those NASA mission homers.  Despite possessing great generosity,  he is someone against whom you should not quarrel.  Prior to high school he was on a pathway to prison.  Since the age of 18 he has been a man beset on all sides by unrelenting autograph hounds.  He has a degree in Family and Child Development.   He has been married to Dr. Linda Jackson for 35 years.  That’s the real Bo Jackson, and the reason to check out this book, The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson by Jeff Pearlman.

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