Sunday, December 22, 2013

One Shot at Forever: a Small TOwn, an Unlikely Coach, and a Magical Baseball Season

So happy that I finally got around to reading this 2013 Alex Award winner! I bought it for my dad for Christmas last year--it's about a baseball team in Macon, Illinois, which is about 10 miles from where I grew up.  In fact, my mom retired from Meridian High School a few years ago, so I recognize some of the names of the teachers in this true story about a baseball season in the early 1970s. I played volleyball against some of the kids of these players--how cool is that?

Chris Ballard can tell a story. In fact, I'm eager to see what's coming next from him.  This book reminded me of David Finkel--I became vested in the characters and the story--I wanted to hear how the tale ended. So many novelists have this problem, so I'm amazed when I get good storytelling from nonfiction authors.

How did a peace-loving hairy young English teacher turn out to be a respected coach in a small rural town? How did a team that couldn't afford matching uniforms beat one of the best Chicago baseball teams in a championship series that didn't include the class system yet?

Give this to sports fans, but also give it to fans of good nonfiction.  It's much more than a baseball book--great ideas about teaching, coaching, parenting, and growing up big minded in a small town.

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