Gi Aldri Opp! “Never Give Up!” by Heidi Løke.

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This was a very straightforward and easy read authored or co-authored by one of the world’s best handball players. Heidi comes from a very atypical Norwegian family by today’s standards. If I remember correctly they were 7 siblings in total, raised by very religious and traditionalist parents. Maybe it was to counter this that the opening of the work was so very vulgar … the book is off to a shocking start where it is described how Løke was trying to make her genitalia more like a penis, as a child, in order to be more like her brothers … (straight up the alley of any post-modernist in other words)….after this opening the book goes on to reveal a “good Christian girl” from a very respectable family of good standing in the community without neither divorce or any other official scandals.

Her brother played on the National team for male handball players and is refered to as her big hero; she writes about all of her siblings in detail and ultimately dedicates her book and her victories to her parents who were very involved with all of their children, despite her father working several jobs. I’m assuming that her mother was a homemaker as no profession is mentioned. It is described how she would cook several meals from scratch everyday, to provide every child with what he or she wanted. According to Løke, they were fed to be sturdy sportsmen/women.

Heidi describes an ideal Norwegian upbringing … before technology made us all too busy to just go and knock on the door of our peers …. They were not wealthy, but were certainly an extremely close-knit family, with Heidi moving home to her mum and dad on several occasions despite being in her 20s. Considering how Norwegian society emphasises independence at all costs, it is certainly encouraging to read about a more old-fashioned family.

Heidi reveals some of the hardships that professional athletes have to cope with,  but I regret that she doesn’t go more in-depth in regards to her injuries, etc; It is especially shocking to read the sequence dealing with her coach in Hungary, where yelling at the players and weighting them in front of the entire team was the norm. Abusing athletes psychologically goes against anything I’ve ever read about successful coaching, Heidi also writes in her book that the experience certainly made her aware of how well you are treated as a sports person in Scandinavia. Still it certainly raised my eyebrows when I read about how she was treated as “replaceable” by her Norwegian club before she went on to become a living legend. It is especially interesting that she had to supplement her income when playing for a professional team in Norway and that she was pretty much “taken for a ride,” since her value as a player increased without her salary reflecting this until she fought for a raise….

One would think that athletes would be treated with a little bit more respect…especially if active on the national team……

As I said the book was extremely easy to get through. It only took me an evening. It would have been interesting if the book went a bit deeper, describing in detail how she prepares herself for her matches, etc; It gives off the air of being a superficial read, but I’m guessing that she didn’t want to bore her fans with too many “geeky” details.

If anything, the book could be used as an argument as to how important it is to have the support of a close-knit family and how family values needs to be more prioritized in our “fractured” modern progressive society.

 

 

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