Adam DeRose is a Buffalo Sabres fan, with a difference. Most fans endeavor to be season ticket holders for their favorite team. They will on occasion follow their team around to different stadiums as well. Adam though, made it his life's mission to watch the Sabres play at every single (current) arena in the NHL. And then he wrote the book based on his travels.
'On The Road Again: My Hockey Memoirs' is an almost five-year-long labor of love as the writer follows the often-hapless Sabres through the doldrums of the tank seasons. He has to balance starting a family with traveling to watch the team as they make their way across the continent, often taking advantage of having a widely-distributed network of extended family and friends.
DeRose has a very friendly and disarming writing style. He doesn't shy away from using a conversational tone and this makes his book eminently readable. His sense of humor should appeal to different generations of readers, and not just hockey fans either.
His travels and travails with his sometimes helpless spouse are something everyone who has ever left the confines of their home will identify with. It must also be mentioned that if you are a Buffalo Sabres fan then this book will strike a deep, personal note with you.
Across the 450 or so pages, the writer has gone on to describe some famous Sabres games in sometimes painful detail, and diehard fans will even remember some of these events. That aside, there are plenty of Buffalo 'insider' jokes in the book to keep that demographic interested too.
The descriptions of his family and friends, whether it's his wife Shannon or his grandpa Ziggy, are very real and characters that we all identify with. There are some grammatical issues to be found, but in keeping with the informal journal nature of the book, they don't interfere with the flow of reading.
The writer with his family - his son Ziggy and dog Teppo (named after the legendary Sabres defenseman Teppo Numminen). We did a Q&A with Adam as well:
DBTB - Tell me something about you that a reader wouldn't know from reading the book.
AD - Well, that's a tough one. I think I put almost all of my thoughts, childhood experiences, and peanut gallery comments out there in the book. After Shannon and I finished our hockey trips, we had a baby boy. Parker Zigmund was born January 13, 2015. And we have another rugrat on the way!
DBTB - What gave you the idea to turn all your travel stories into a book? Or was that the goal all along?
AD - I have always been doing some sort of creative writing or drawing cartoons for as long as I can remember. In school, I loved art class because there were no tests. I wasn't a fan of Language Arts class because there was reading and tests involved, though I did like to write. At the time, my writing was horrible, especially my grammar and spelling.
Well before Shannon and I started the hockey trips, we would go to rock concerts. After almost each show, I would write down my experience: traveling to the show, tailgating, what songs the bands played, getting back home. I wrote them down so that I could look back at them in a few years and relive the experience. So when we started the hockey trips, I would write down what we did in each city as soon as we got back home. The longer I wait to write things down, the more I lose the fine details of the stories.
DBTB - How come you self-published the book? Was it difficult getting publishers interested?
AD - Why did I self publish? Two answers: first, I am impatient.
Second, I did not see a publisher loving or liking my story. I figured that a publisher would think that my story was for a very tiny niche market.
DBTB - What is your advice to fellow Sabres fans who want to put their stories in book-form?
AD - I would tell any Sabres that it would a fun and great time to follow the Sabres on the road. Shannon and I have bumped into a ton of Bills and Sabres fans on the road. A lot of them have traveled across the country to watch Buffalo play, but I still have yet to meet someone that wrote down their experiences.
I self published through Create Space and it is owned by Amazon. It is very user friendly. One of the drawbacks that I found was that Barnes & Nobles will not carry Create Space books because they do not have a return policy. When traveling to watch your team, make sure to visit/stay with family. It saves on hotel costs and you also get to sneak in family time.
DBTB - Where do you go from here? Traveling to see the Bills is out, so what's next?
AD - What's next? Well Baby #2 is due in August, so there will be twice as many diapers to change. I am currently working on watching the Bills play everywhere. Shannon told me I am on my own for that one because she is not a fan of football. Thus far, I have been to about 10 away games, including London and the Hall of Fame game. I am not including Toronto, because the NFL does not belong up there. Just like the NHL does not belong below the Mason-Dixon Line.
Here's my criteria for hockey: if you think ice is something that goes in your drink, then you do not deserve a hockey team (sorry Tampa, Miami, Atlanta, Raleigh, Nashville, Dallas, Phoenix, LA, Anaheim, San Jose...). If you have to drive or live in ice for most of the year, then yes, you deserve a hockey team!
NOTE: This book was received for free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
'On The Road Again: My Hockey Memoirs' is exclusively available on Amazon as a paperback.