Jul 292008

What is it that excites you, makes you smile and fuels your dreams? This is the question author Kevin Carroll urges children to contemplate in his new inspirational workbook, What’s Your Red Rubber Ball?!: Discover Your Inspiration and Chase It for a Lifetime, co-published by Disney Press and ESPN Books. The book, which contains fold-outs, journal pages and self-discovery activities and features red rubber texturing on its cover, lands this month with a 100,000-copy first printing. 

The genesis of the title is an actual ball that Carroll played with as a boy, which helped him discover his athletic ability and a passion for sports. That ball fueled Carroll’s personal and professional dreams and, he insists, “it saved my life.” Born in a Philadelphia suburb in 1958, he, along with his two brothers, moved in with their grandparents after their parents abandoned them. The local playground became what he calls “my sanctuary—a magical environment where my worries, shame and low self-esteem disappeared.”

During 10 years of active duty in the Air Force, Carroll spent a good deal of time playing soccer. He went on to study sports medicine and worked as an athletic trainer for high school and college athletic teams, eventually becoming the head trainer for the Philadelphia 76ers. He then went to work for Nike, where he was responsible for inspiring employees. “It was my job to push their creativity and potential to the limit,” he says.