Zach Dundas

In The Renegade Sportsman (Riverhead, $15), Zach Dundas makes a simple, straightforward point that’s tough to argue after the theft of our Sonics and utter Mariner/Seahawk mediocrity: Much of the joy of sports has been corporatized out of TV’s big three revenue sources (NFL, MLB, NBA). And as a corollary, the real thrills now lie in the alternative, DIY realm of “underground sports,” far removed from the media glare. As befits the subtitle, “Drunken Runners, Bike Polo Superstars, Roller Derby Rebels, Killer Birds, and Other Uncommon Thrills on the Wild Frontier of Sports,” his book is a sprawling, ambitious, beer-soaked tour of the alterna-sports landscape. A former Willamette Week writer, Dundas also explores single-speed cyclocross, the Hash House Harriers, high-level fencing, bicycle messengers’ “alley cat” races, and the sheer insanity of the Trans Iowa endurance bike race. (For a break, he also founds the short-lived Portland Croquet League.) After all that, Dundas should be tired, but it’s never apparent in this sharp, funny debut. MICHAEL MAHONEY

Sat., June 12, 7 p.m., 2010

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