Man versus Ball


Man versus Ball

One Ordinary Guy and His Extraordinary Sports Adventures

Jon Hart

184 pages


May 2013


$24.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

May 2013


$24.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Jon Hart is not a professional athlete. His one major sports victory is a world championship in roller basketball, which is basketball on in-line skates. More than ten years ago, he started pursuing his own bucket list and embarked on a hilarious and insightful journey into the furthest reaches of the sports world.
Man versus Ball follows Hart’s adventures around the country as he undertakes new missions, often with unexpected results. He becomes a pro wrestler, learning “fake” moves that all but land him in the hospital after a body slam went awry. He plays an entire season for a championship semipro football team, suits up as a U.S. Open ball boy for three years, and is an “amateur caddie” for a Professional Golfers’ Association tournament. After attending mascot school, he performs in a neon gorilla suit in front of several thousand fans at a minor league hockey game. He works as a vendor at several venues around the country, hawking concessions while fending off drunken fans. He even earns a bit of glory for himself, leading his roller basketball league in rebounds for two consecutive seasons. Feeling confident, he takes part in the World Cup of roller soccer, which is soccer on in-line skates. All this prepares him for his moment of truth: a race up the 1,576 stairs of the Empire State Building.
A George Plimpton–style excursion into the athletic unknown, Man versus Ball will delight and inspire readers who have secretly yearned to cross fun items off their life’s to-do list.

Author Bio

JON HART has written for the New York Times and an array of outlets that have sadly bitten the dust. He graduated first in his class from mascot school. Then again, he was the only person in his graduating class. As a U.S. Open ball boy, he was runner-up for rookie of the year. He has never been to the Olympics in any capacity, but he has done the Macarena with an Olympic gold medalist. He lives in New York City, which he hopes will not be held against him.


"A good, quick read for those of you who would like a first-hand account of what it's like to be part of the "very edge" sports world."—Mighty Quinn Media Machine

"A great book for readers who enjoy sports stories off the field of play and for those who enjoy humor or comedy."—Lance Smith,

"One of the most unique and consistently entertaining things I've read recently."—Craig Manning, Independent Publisher

"A New York writer with a unique love for all things sports, Jon Hart's book Man Versus Ball: One Ordinary Guy And His Extraordinary Sports Adventures takes the reader on his personal journey exploring the world of sports in a way that has not been attempted since the days of George Plimpton, in the 1970s. . . . He is an excellent storyteller with a keen eye for detail. In the end, he succeeds in showing a side of sports that few people ever notice. A human side, far from the bright lights and glory one associates with sports. Man Versus Ball is a good read, and one that would make a great gift for any lover of sports."—George Fosty, Box Score News

"Man Versus Ball is a raucous rollick along the frayed fringes of the sports world, where I think Hart finds more real-ness than you typically encounter in real professional sports."—Blogging Joggler

"Want to laugh at every turn of the page? And learn a tad about non-traditional, unique, different, out of the box sports experiences? Then reading Man Versus Ball, published in 2013 by Jon Hart, is a treat for anyone who has an unfulfilled athletic dream and appreciates those of others."—Meg Minard, Stadium Journey

“Humane, heartbreaking and at times hilarious, here are stories of watching everything go sideways on your biggest days and still finding hope by surprise. This book will turn your definition of winners upside down.”—DAN KENNEDY, author of American Spirit and host of The Moth Storytelling podcast

“I would never buy a stadium hot dog from Jon Hart. But I would buy his book. It’s not made from random animal parts, and more important: it’s funny.”—A. J. JACOBS, author of The Year of Living Biblically and The Guinea Pig Diaries

"Man Versus Ball is helpful to remind us that sports in America has more facets to it than meets the eye."—Keith Aksel, Tattered Pennant