Get out that vintage bike—or imagine the one you always wished for—and join award-winning Sports Illustrated writer Steve Rushin on a wild ride through his ’70s boyhood in fast-growing Bloomington, Minnesota. Once the proud owner of his own Sting-Ray bike, Rushin was born just in time to watch the first man land on the moon. Sting-Ray Afternoons takes it from there in this fiercely funny memoir about family, sports, music, food and fads.
Rushin is the middle child of a frequently traveling, hardworking 3M salesman and a stay-at-home mom who somehow remained sane and mostly in control of four brawling boys and an unflappable daughter. A candid observer of his own troubles—sleepwalking, night terrors and sibling wars among them—Rushin adds wit with a comic’s timing to his tales. Meanwhile, the Sears Wish Book catalog promised grand Christmases, the new Weber grill delivered backyard barbecues, and the Vikings went down in Super Bowl defeat an ignominious four times. Pringles were pretty new, and who knew that their creator would someday ask to be cremated and buried in a Pringles can? Rushin is a wealth of such odd facts.
Mixing in more sports and popular trivia than any board game can provide, Rushin offers up a time capsule of the 1970s. The affection he bestows on his family—foibles and scars notwithstanding—colors the details of their times together. “Childhood disappears down a storm drain,” Rushin concludes. “It flows, then trickles, then vanishes. . . .” Sting-Ray Afternoons does its best to ensure the devil in those details lives on.