Pinball: The Making of a Canadian Hero

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John Wiley & Sons, May 12, 2009 - Sports & Recreation - 336 pages
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In 2004, Michael "Pinball" Clemons became the first black coach in the history of the CFL to hoist the Grey Cup in victory, the culmination of an experience that began when he came to Canada in 1989 as an unheralded American football player deemed too small to make it in the National Football League. Not only did Clemons make it big—literally and figuratively—in the Canadian Football League in a career that spanned 11 seasons, but he cultivated a reputation as an enduring Canadian figure.

In between dazzling people with his on-field exploits that resulted in winning the Most Valuable Player in the Canadian Football League in 1990, he became a Most Valuable Person off the field, too, giving generously of his time to charity and causes. His motivational speaking abilities at countless events have wowed his listeners. And throughout this period, Clemons began to realize that he wanted to make Canada his full-time home, embracing the country that, in turn, has embraced him.

The book will focus on how it all came to be and how Mike Clemons’ special qualities contributed to making him an enduring Canadian personality, well known beyond the city of Toronto where he became the most popular athlete. It will describe his tremendous natural leadership skills and important inspirational messages to Canadians.


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The Dream Week
Growing Up in Florida
College and the NFL
The Making of Pinball
The Toronto Treasure
Coach Clemons
Presidential Appointment
Taking Ownership
Beyond the Grey Cup

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About the author (2009)

Perry Lefko worked for the Toronto Sun as a sports writer from 1985 to 2006, reporting on amateur sports, curling, horse racing and football, then accepted an offer to become the Communications Director for the Canadian Football League. He is a three-time Sovereign Award winner for outstanding writing about Canadian horse racing, has twice received honourable mention in the Sun Media category of sports writing, and once received the Ontario Curling Association writer of the year award. He is a frequent contributor to Global Sports and The Fan590.
He is a best-selling author of six previous books, The Greatest Show On Turf: The History of the Breeders’ Cup; Flutie; Sandra Schmirler: The Queen of Curling; Bret Hart: The Best There Is, The Best There Was, The Best There Ever Will Be; Thoroughbred Racing’s Greatest Day: The Breeder’s Cup 20th Anniversary Celebration; and Ride of a Lifetime: The Sandy Hawley Story.
He lives in Mississauga with his wife Jane, son Ben, daughter Shayna and the family dog Angel.

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