Sting-Ray Afternoons: A Memoir ….by Steve Rushin

I saw the cover of this book and I knew I would be interested. Steve Rushin is a writer and was hired by Sports Illustrated when he was 22 in 1988. He describes growing up in Minnesota during the seventies…but you could have lived anywhere to get the references. He is witty with a good sense of humor. He writes it like he is actually living it real time and that makes it enjoyable.

If you are looking for action this is not for you. He didn’t fall into addiction, turn to crime, or become a sports or music star. His family was not rich but middle class. It’s just what life was like during the 1970s in an American nuclear family. I just read his sequel “A Night At White Castle” about him leaving home in the 1980s and going to college. That one is great as well…a more teenage look at the 1980s.

The title draws inspiration from the Sting-Ray bicycle that was popular at the time. Banana seat luxury as I remember. I usually got Huffy bikes but I did have one Sting-Ray. It was a banana yellow 3-speed. I loved that bike and it represented freedom and a way to get 2-5 miles away from home at the time. It worked until a little later and my first car took its place.

Steve brings up things that you are sure to remember. Romper Room, Sesame Street, board games, toys, music, sports, and about everything seventies connected. He also will tell the history of some things like Boeing 747s and how other things came about. He talks about his family vacations and the places they go and the trouble that happens. His Dad was an 8-Track 3m tape salesman…he travels all over the world selling 3m tape. When 8-tracks go out of style he switches to videotape.

The Rushin family could be any family in America at that time or in most other countries. If you are that age…this will bring back a lot of memories. All of his siblings grow up to be successful. Two of them went to college on full hockey scholarships and one sister…became a doctor.

The book reminded me of my fears and insecurities growing up that I had completely forgotten about with school situations, family arguments, and everyday life. If you grew up in the seventies or would like to know how it was…this is the book to read. I will say this is not a fact book about the 70s but an eyewitness who lived it telling us the human side.

If you want to see some pictures from the book…here is a PDF Stingray with just pictures. 

Steve ended up marrying Rebbecca Lobo the famous WNBA star.


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

27 thoughts on “Sting-Ray Afternoons: A Memoir ….by Steve Rushin”

  1. Sting Rays were for rich kids in my day (or so I thought, as anything new was for rich kids). Since they appeared when I was 10, and we ordinary kids got hand-me-downs for bikes, we never actually got to ride Sting Rays. (My bike of that size came from a cousin.) By your day, you could get one used and regular folks could have them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The author didn’t get one either… he had a knockoff… I forget which company though…maybe a Sears knockoff.
      I always got a Huffy…more of the dirt bike style.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Sounds like a book I’d like, both because of the ’70s references and the growing-up type memoir which often are pretty interesting. I had a bicycle something like that style in the mid-’70s, but I have no idea what brand it was …it had a ‘banana seat’ on it though but I think I always wanted one that was sparkly? Remember those metallic-looking long seats?. It’s a shame so few kids cycle these days.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. He got a knock off Stingray from a Canadian bike company….now I remember…a CCM Mustang… Yes I remember those long seats! it’s been a while.

      His writing is fun and he keeps a good sense of humor…I’m reviewing the other one next Wednesday…it’s just as good…just told from a different point of view because he was a teen and young man at that time.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Beth I really liked it…plus his sequel A NIght At White Castle which I’ll do next Wednesday. They both brought back a lot of memories. I’m the same age within a few months. He was born in 66 and me 67 so it fit.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like a fun read, especially if you grew up in the U.S. In Germany during the ’70s you actually had Sting-Ray-type bikes as well. They were called “Bonanzaräder” (Bonanza bikes).

    I don’t recall I ever asked my parents to have a Bonanzarad. It didn’t speak much to me, and I was happy with a “regular” bike. What I did want and eventually got was a bike with a gear shifter.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I had a few knockoffs…but I didn’t care…they all looked cool. I saw a Stingray on sale on Ebay… up to 6,000 dollars!
      I had a 3-speed bike with a gear shift….I loved it.


  4. Me too, a 3-speed bike. It was such a huge improvement over my previous bike, which had no gear shift!

    Later I got a 5-speed aluminum bike. It was great to ride and came in very handy for a bike tour through southern England , which I did as a 14-year-old, together with two class mates from middle school. In retrospect, I find it remarkable our parents allowed the trip!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That would be a cool light bike to do that with…perfect for a bike tour. I think of some of the things my parents let me do… and I’m shocked.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. If I hadn’t lived it myself and was more into sports, I’d be more interested in reading the book. Last week I went to a movie, “Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret” with some friends. It’s set in 1970 and the main characters are 12 years old, my age in 1970. That was a real fun blast to the past for me.

    About bikes, I remember having an adult-sized bike way too early and standing up to ride it around. The chain slipped once and I scraped my knee pretty bad and still have the scar from it. All of my bikes were no-speeds, but I remember coveting one when Schwinn 10-speed’s Continental came out. I never learned how to shift with those 2 metal bars on the handlebars. My first (and current) 21-speed has a clicker on the handlebar that works just fine.

    I know at least one of my brothers had a stingray with a banana seat on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love those bikes back then…they had such personalities. Yea I love watching movies set in that time.
      He brought a lot of stuff back to me that I had forgotten about.
      I remember those 10-speeds with the handle bars bent around underneath…I always wanted one of those.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That movie did for me also, especially the girl stuff. Seems like a lifetime ago now… It seemed like everyone in our neighborhood had those Schwinn 10-speeds, but there were 4 of us who would have needed them and our family was dirt poor.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I know where you are coming from! My mom was raising me alone in most of the seventies after mom and dad divorced around 73-74. Somehow she got me what I needed back then and sometimes more….but my sister married when I was 8 so it was only me for the longest.

        Liked by 1 person

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