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The Renegade Sportsman: Drunken Runners, Bike Polo Superstars, Roller Derby Rebels,Killer Birds and Other Uncommon Thrills on the Wild Frontier of Sports Paperback – June 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Trade; 1 edition (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594484562
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594484568
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,223,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ever have the desire to run several miles down a city street after chugging a beer? Or ride a bike through cow patches and cornfields in the pitch black of night? These may not sound like appealing forms of physical activity, but their participants are no less passionate than those who take part in more traditional sports, as freelance writer Dundas finds out in this entertaining read. With the belief that "our relationship with sports could use a makeover," Dundas sets off across the country to reconnect with the subculture far from sold-out stadiums and million-dollar athletes. He takes us along with the Hash House Harriers, who will traverse any road that "presents some sort of challenge to the mildly intoxicated runner." Whether it™s hanging with overly boisterous soccer fans, taking a dip into the sport of fencing, or learning about falconry (hunting with trained birds), Dundas, with a good sense of humor, makes your ordinary sports seem, well, ordinary.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Zach Dundas worked as a reporter and editor at the Missoula Independent and Portland’s Willamette Week. His writing has appeared in Maxim, The San Francisco Chronicle, Portland Monthly, and elsewhere. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and son.

More About the Author

Zach Dundas worked as a reporter and editor at the Missoula Independent and Portland's Willamette Week. His writing has appeared in Maxim, The San Francisco Chronicle, Portland Monthly and elsewhere. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and son.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book inspired me to go out and look for "Renegade" sports in my own community. It is so much more fun to watch these fringe athletic contests then many of today's professional contests.
Zach Dundas has a very pleasing writing style, I was immediately drawn into the book and his descriptions of his adventures. It's a fun read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. ONeill on December 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
I got two books for Christmas, recommended by different people for different reasons. One was "The Renegade Sportsman", the other was "A Renegade History of the United States" by Thaddeus Russell. Surprisingly, they mean rather the same thing by the word "renegade"; Russell is talking about how a search for freedom among hookers, drunks, layabouts and riffraff led to much of what we value in our culture. Dundas is on a similar trip, looking for the fun and rebellion in sport, the renegades who bring passion, love of the game and style into the cold hearted world corporate sports execs would have us embrace.

So, "The Renegade Sportsman": Pretty good, nice read, and nice ideas. I agree with him about the death of real sport and the awful plastic nature of big league NFL/MLB/whatever. Most importantly, he's a good storyteller, he likes these stories and it shows. He draws you in to stuff you'd never heard of. Very readable.

The tone of the book is set early when he compares big money pro sports to big stadium rock concerts and wonders where the punk rock of the sports world is. That's the quest of the book, and that's his model for what's good or what's not, I think. So if you wonder why you didn't get a call from him about your lifelong skiing obsession, well, when you were a kid you would buy equipment, drive in your parents' station wagon to Aspen and take ski lessons, right? And now you're a good skier and you love it, that's nice. But it's not punk rock. In musical terms you took suburban piano lessons, now you play in a little classical ensemble. Nice, but not punk rock.

What about hunting? Fishing? Various hill climbs and car racing and so on? Sailing adventure races? Not really punk rock, is it?
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David J. Loftus on June 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
In this good-natured romp through the "underbelly" of American sports, Dundas hangs with beer slugging joggers (the Hash House Harriers), brutal overland bicycle racers, denizens of the re-emerging (consciously ironic, self-parodying) national roller derby league, U.S. major league soccer, and fencers (the foil/épée/saber kind).

There are also briefer looks at darts, trans-continental car races, street bike polo, urban golf (played on city streets), the Kentucky Derby as a fairly unco-opted spectator activity, futsal, and falconry.

The author takes a swipe at arena sports and "videophilia," but he doesn't spend a lot of time constructing the case against corporate sports or forecasting the future of the alternatives. The book is mostly an enjoyable look at off-beat physical pastimes -- participatory, grass roots, self-funded, weird and unpredictable, and above all, fun -- and the people who pursue them.

Although Dundas makes a big deal about forays to D.C., Chicago, Austin, and rural Iowa to witness tournaments and talk to participants and organizers, much of the book centers on and celebrates Portland, which is part of its attraction for Portlanders like me, but also a limitation. It's something of a DIY report, by an experienced and adroit writer on a rather limited budget.

In other words, it's partly a love letter to Stumptown: "As one of America's postmodern, Left Coast cities, Portland's traditional jock culture is weak, while its willingness to sacrifice dignity in pursuit of a good time is strong."

Not particularly well organized or analytical, the book does make pleasant company. Where else will you see a roller derby team described as a "sentient meat blizzard"?

Eventually, the journalist stops observing and plunges in. Renegade sports culture teaches that "it's better to do things badly yourself than pay to watch other people do them well," he writes.
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Format: Paperback
Zach Dundas' observations alone are worth the read. He is damn funny and has a wonderful knack for pointing out the hilarious absurdities in everyday life. I myself am marginally interested and involved in sports- I have dabbled here and there, but never thought I would find myself reading a book devoted specifically to such a topic. This book is well worth the read, even for the un-sporty. Aside from learning about all the off the wall sporting pursuits out there, the greatest part of this book is Dundas' encouragement of sports enthusiasts and participants who do not fit the usual super-athletic, or even physically coordinated mold. He is encouraging of everyone who has ever been interested in playing a sport or even making up a sport of their own, but has been too afraid to do so for fear of failure, injury or just plain embarrassment. His simple message is just to get off the couch, bleachers, barstool, etc. and just get out there and do it and have fun (and perhaps a few drinks) while you are at it. I heartily recommend this book!
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