Friday, 9 March 2018

TBC: On The Road Again...

If there's one dream that every sports fan has, it might be following his or her favorite team on the road to every opposing arena or stadium to watch them in action in hostile territory. For the vast majority of us, that dream is more fantasy than real, but one die-hard Buffalo Sabres fan decided to make it his and his wife's reality over the span of five years! He chronicled this adventure in a book, and Teebz's Book Club is proud to review On The Road Again..., written and published by Adam DeRose! Adam and his wife, Shannon, tackle the idea of traveling to the other 30 NHL cities to follow their beloved Sabres, along with a few other stops, in this book, and it's a pretty wild ride which makes for a great read!

Adam and Shannon DeRose are your normal suburbanites: jobs, house, car, a dog named Teppo Numminen. Ok, so maybe that last one is a little different, but both Adam and Shannon are die-hard Buffalo Sabres fans. Prior to following the Sabres around the continent, they would attend rock concerts all over the northeastern United States. From there, they devoted all their travels to seeing the Sabres in every opposing team's rink. Since returning back to western New York after this adventure, Adam and Shannon added two kids to their family, and Adam has begun to follow the Bills around the continent! In other words, Adam DeRose might be the biggest Buffalo sports fan the world has ever seen!

The idea to follow the Sabres to every other NHL city came from a Back to the Future scene as Mr. DeRose writes, but that's where you first get to meet the zany person known as Adam DeRose. Mr. DeRose admittedly states in the book a number of times that he's a 13 year-old boy trapped in a man's body, so that's something you should know up front. However, reading the book and knowing this fact makes digesting the jokes and information presented in On The Road Again... that much easier. It's like reading an excited boy's journal about all the places he's traveled and all the things he's seen!

I have to admit that I, as a reader, learned a great deal about the cities that Adam and Shannon visited. They visited more restaurants and bars than I could count, and Adam gives excellent reports on what beers were served at these locations. They stopped at a number of local and national landmarks on their trek where Adam gives reviews based on his experiences at these spots. The one thing I would have liked to see more of, though, were reviews and reports on the various arenas he visited. There weren't many of these reviews in On The Road Again..., and it would have been nice to get reviews on amenities, seating, and food at the rinks themselves. Nevertheless, Adam and Shannon experienced a ton of cool things at the places they visited, so use that knowledge and experience to your advantage!

One of the things that tripped me up as a reader, however, were the vast number of spelling mistakes made in On The Road Again.... Adam self-published this book, so the art of proof-reading was something that was missed with most publishing houses. Adam admittedly also babbles, and there are chapters where this is evident. These two items would be caught by professional proof-readers, but Adam misses out on this luxury. It doesn't hurt the read, mind you, but if you have a thing for spelling or want to skip by the small talk, be prepared for a few double-takes.

On The Road Again...'s journey spans 469 pages, but if you go searching for hockey on these pages you'll see that on maybe 150 of the pages total. They say the destination is important, but if the journey is the destination Adam's travels are an excellent place to land. Again, I wish there was more hockey contained within the pages, but you find yourself alongside Adam and Shannon as you read their stories as they take you through their experiences in these NHL cities.

As an example, while in San Jose, Adam writes,
"So here was the quick nutshell story about the Winchester House... Sarah Lockwood married Mr. Winchester, the gun guy. The two of them had a child, who died shortly after birth. A few years later, Mr. Winchester died and Sarah inherited the company and all of Mr. Winchester's fortune. Sarah went crazy and became intrigued with the occult and spirits. Sarah went to a soothsayer. The soothsayer told Sarah that she was haunted by the spirits of the victims of the Winchester rifle. The spirits told Sarah that she needed to find an unfinished house and continuously build onto the house, so she could escape the spirits. Sarah left New England for San Jose, where she bought a farm house. For almost 40 years, there was 24 hour construction, transforming the farm house into a mansion. Construction on the mansion ceased when Sarah died. Supposedly Sarah still hung around the mansion... Tell you what, I saw more haunts at the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland!"
It's this level of detail in the other adventures that one gets from Adam in On The Road Again... that I really was hoping we'd see for the hockey portions of the book. Nonetheless, that's a pretty cool little story that actually has me interested in visiting the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. This level of detail accompanies most of his and Shannon's experiences, so, as I said off the top, use On The Road Again... to learn about some of the cool things one can do in any of the cities he and Shannon visited!

Overall, On The Road Again... is a fun look at one couple's travels to more-than-forty cities in the NHL and AHL as they followed their beloved Buffalo Sabres and, at times, the Rochester Americans around the continent. I had emailed Adam prior to writing this to express my concerns with On The Road Again... being sold as a "hockey book," but I went back and re-read specific chapters and found myself enjoying the information laid out on the pages. I wouldn't go as far as saying this is one of those books you have to have for the information disseminated inside its covers, but I believe I needed a "fun read" after what seemed like I had been flipping through textbooks about hockey for months. On The Road Again... delivers a fun twist on being a hockey fan, and I think every fan needs that perspective.

In saying all this, On The Road Again... has its faults, but who doesn't? I commend Adam DeRose for self-publishing and taking a chance with On The Road Again..., and I have to say that having the author commit to the "Walk of Shame" in twenty NHL cities proves that his fanaticism over the Sabres is unquestioned. When one weighs the good on the pages of On The Road Again... versus what may need some tweaking, On The Road Again... comes in with a score that deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval! No "Walk of Shame" here, Adam!

It might be tough to find On The Road Again... at your local library or bookstore, but it appears that there are copies available on the linked Amazon page for fairly reasonable prices. It's a fun read for fans, and I hope Adam can make a few extra bucks after you've read this review!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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