I’m not a big sports fan, but even I couldn’t resist Sports Illustrated Kids’ new “Big Book of Why” sports edition, with more than 500 sports facts and trivia. I was intrigued by questions such as, “Why is it called a turkey when you get three straight strikes in bowling?” and “Why is a football sometimes called a pigskin?”
Kids who love baseball, football, tennis and more will likely spend hours paging through the hardcover book either alone or with friends, siblings and parents. The "Big Book of Why" isn't actually that big -- it's 128 pages with colorful, graphic photos on every page, making it easy to tackle (pun intended). Cost: $17.95.
Now that I’ve posed the above trivia questions, you want to know the answers, right? As for the turkey reference, more than 100 years ago, on holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving, bowling alleys sometimes gave a live turkey as a prize to the first person on each team who got three strikes in a row. (Of course, this begs the question of why people went bowling on Thanksgiving, but that’s not addressed!)
As for the pigskin question, kids will love this gross answer: In the early days of football, the ball was built by inflating the bladder of a pig. Yuck.
Here are some more questions from the book: “Why is zero called ‘love’ in tennis?” “Why don’t the Cleveland Browns have a logo on their helmet?” “Why is the warm-up area called the bullpen?” and “Why is there a seventh-inning stretch?" And a timely one: “Why are the rings the symbol of the Olympics?”
For the answers to all of those, you’ll have to consult the book yourself.