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Athletic Shorts: Six Short Stories

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  1,984 Ratings  ·  213 Reviews
These six stories from acclaimed author Chris Crutcher are about athletes, but are not simply sports stories.

Here he presents characters from some of his best–loved novels, as well as creating some unforgettable new personalities, in tales of love, death, bigotry, heroism, and coming of age.

Ages 11+
Paperback, 208 pages
Published November 5th 2002 by Greenwillow Books (first published January 1st 1991)
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Mar 07, 2009 Bonnie rated it really liked it

This short story collection serves as my introduction to Chris Crutcher as an author.

These stories are easy to read despite dealing with social situations and moral dilemmas: self-esteem, reaction to death and dying, prejudice and discrimination, or family relationships.

I must admit that I experienced some discomfort reading the social slurs that Crutcher so breezily makes use of in “The Telephone Man.” In the prologue to the story he says that he “has fears in writing about racism [but:] that
Brenda Morris
Aug 03, 2007 Brenda Morris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: youngadult
One of my favorite young adult authors, Chris Crutcher writes realistic stories about realistic people with realistic problems. He always writes intelligently and with a sense of humor while simultaneously depicting his characters sympathetically. This collection of short stories is great for people who enjoy realistic fiction, but don't want to read a longer book. Short stories are also great for when you don't have time for a whole novel - you can read a story in one sitting, and if you don't ...more
Apr 22, 2013 Susan added it
*Susan Hart
*Crutcher, C. (1989). Athletic Shorts. New York: Greenwillow Books.
*Short stories
*Selected from catalog. School Library Journal Review below.

*Athletic Shorts is a dynamic collection of 6 sports related short stories by Chris Crutcher.
All with male main characters that experience a sport as an important part of their lives, these stories are complete portrayals that show growth or change. Angus Bethune is chagrinned at having the name of a cow, particularly since he is the size
Kellie Wagner
Sep 30, 2011 Kellie Wagner rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-lit-2011-2012
Chris Crutcher achieved what he wanted within this book. It is composed of short stories, and some of them are continuations using the characters from other books. Of course I want to read all of the other books now to totally understand these characters. Another aspect of the book that I appreciated was the prelude to each story. Crutcher provided why he chose to write that particular story, or who encouraged him in the writing process for that story. It was interesting to be in an author's pre ...more
May 05, 2013 Marcia rated it it was amazing
Marcia Vining

Crutcher, C., (1991). Athletic shorts: six short stories. New York: Greenwillow

Genre: Short Stories

Selection process: Morning, T., Jones, T. E., Toth, L., & Fleishhacker, J. (1991). Athletic shorts: six short stories (Book). School Library Journal, 37(9), 278.

As the title implies this collection of short stories uses athletics as its unifying theme. Using realistic situations Crutcher tells about common difficulties in the lives of his characters that teens will find familiar.
Jul 07, 2016 Leftbanker rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
This was yet another book chosen for me solely on the strength of the narration by the late, great Frank Muller. I spend at least two hours every day on my bike so I’ve been grinding through a lot of audio books. I’d never heard of this writer before but he makes me wish that I could go back and try being 15 all over again and this time do a better job of it. Think of these stories as The Catcher in the Rye except the protagonist isn’t some over-privileged, rich wise-ass and instead a hard-worki ...more
Logan Erdmann
Mar 12, 2013 Logan Erdmann rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I would recommend it to high school students who are interested in sports. "Athletic Shorts" is a book of short stories that all have a theme about life built into them. The book shows the troubles that some athletes face, whether it was pressure from their parents to perform or if they were dealing with loss of a close friend. These short stories also cover the endings of some of Chris Crutcher's other books. Overall, it was a very good book. I look forward to readin ...more
Ashley Colleen
Jan 14, 2013 Ashley Colleen rated it it was ok
Shelves: sports
Athletic Shorts is a compilation of six short stories all pertaining to the area of sports. One story is about a boy, who is bigger than most kids and gets picked on, but that is not the only peculiar thing about Angus Bethune; besides his name, his parents are divorced and have remarried. No big deal you think, right? Well, when his parents remarried, they married someone of the same sex. So his mom is married to his mom and his dad is married to his dad. On top of this Angus has been elected t ...more
Jan 03, 2017 Carrie rated it really liked it
It's been a while since I've read a Chris Crutcher book. I forgot how much I enjoy his writing style! These stories, while about sports, were not about sports at all. They were about all of the important life lessons that surround involvement in sports - so I, as an athletically challenged individual could still enjoy and appreciate them. These stories made me laugh and cry - but mostly laugh. I can't wait to use some of them in class with my students!
Nov 17, 2008 Frances rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: teens
Recommended to Frances by: ms. rogal
I am reviewing the book Athletic Shorts’ “A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune”, by Chris Crutcher; I think Crutcher’s purpose in writing this book was to have a few short stories that are like his other books. He also states, that in his other books he lets the reader choose how the story ends. The short stories in this book are about people and what happened to them before or after the book was written. I think the Crutcher’s intended audience is teenagers and the feelings of kids who d ...more
Sep 11, 2014 Adan rated it really liked it
Copy and past your book review in this space:

Have you ever wanted to relate to someone or something? If you are athletic, a teenager, or an athletic teenager, then the chances are you might relate to one of these awesome short stories in “Athletic Shorts” by Chris Crutcher. Each of these fun exciting shorts tell a story with a different theme and moral. Among these many morals young boys Angus, Johnny, Petey, Lionel, Jack, and Louie have to overcome many feats. These include embarrassing familie
Apr 23, 2011 Myles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't read this when I was growing up, I'm not even sure if I ever saw a Chris Crutcher book before I did a Banned Books display at work in college. I'm sure I did, but all I'm conjuring up are Matt Christopher books (which I avoided like the plague) and hearing the occasional oral report in class from a 'sports' book, which instantly made me turn off my attention.

By the way, how do elementary school teachers do it? If I had to listen to 20 summarized plots of books from R.L. Stine, Judy Blum
Elizabeth Harty
Sep 11, 2014 Elizabeth Harty rated it really liked it
Athletic Shorts • Six Short Stories

How much can one person struggle? In the compelling novel by Chris Crutcher, Athletic Shorts tells six different stories about six different struggling teens. Johnny, Angus, Lion, Petey, “Telephone man”, and Louie all have their own difficult life stories. Although none of the boys’ lives intertwine, they all have one thing in common; they need help. As they investigate the hardships of life, the boys struggle to find out who they are and what they stand for.
This collection of short stories are often found on the ALA challenged book list. It has been challenged because it has a story that has an 18 year old boy befriending a man with AIDS, because it discusses homosexuality and because of its language. Chris Crutcher, though, is an expert at what he does-writing about reality. He said, "They think kids should not be exposed in print to what they are exposed in their lives. But I believe what I believe, so I write my stories." (Crutcher even has a wh ...more
Sep 11, 2014 Conor rated it it was amazing
Imagine if you had to make a decision between two things, and both could ruin your life. Athletic Shorts is an inspiring fiction book written by Chris Crutcher, and it tells the stories of six different athletes and their personal struggles. Out of the six stories, the most affecting one in the collection is one called “A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune.”This story is about a boy named Angus (the narrator) who is an overweight high school football player who struggles with social accep ...more
Sep 16, 2015 Nick rated it it was amazing

The book Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher is jam packed with six short stories of athletes’ lives filled with tragedy, comedy, and the challenges of being a teenager, each of them leaves you wanting more. They all take place in different places, but they all seem the same. All of the stories are about teenagers going through their early struggles. All of them take place in small towns where sports are everything. I have chosen my favorite one to go into depth about. Although it was a very hard
Matt Klingbeil
Jun 06, 2013 Matt Klingbeil rated it liked it
The book Athletic Shorts: Six Short Stories by Chris Crutcher is a non-fictional young adult book. The book consists of six short stories, each about a different person. The people from the short stories were actually characters from Crutcher's previous books. Crutcher decided to write these short stories after many people continued to ask him about the previous characters.

The setting of this book is all over the place, as it is six different short stories with different characters. In the fi
Mar 09, 2012 Jolanda rated it really liked it
Athletic Shorts a compilation of short stories by Chris Crutcher addresses a slew of difficult topics from being an obese teen, to father and son relationships, even what to do when faced with wrestling a girl! Each character is a complex realistic person with all the typical teen problems in their own ways.
In “A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune” an overweight teen struggles with unpleasant peers at the school dance partly because both his parents are in happy homosexual relationships.
David Paul
Aug 02, 2010 David Paul rated it really liked it
“Athletic Shorts” by Chris Crutcher is a collection of six different stories that tell of how a certain sport affects the characters of each of the short stories. Each character’s situation deals with a topic that is hard to talk about. Whether it’s racism, sexual orientation or another difficult topic, Chris Crutcher tackles the issue.
In the first chapter, Angus Bethune deals with a lot of stereotypes in his life. First off, he is a little overweight and is quite often picked on for that. To t
Jan 17, 2013 Joshita rated it really liked it
Shelves: edutl
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 26, 2008 Linsay rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-stuff
This great collection of short stories follows up on characters that author Chris Crutcher introduced in other works, some major characters and some supporting characters. I’ve often wished that authors would expand on an interesting character that only played a bit part in the book! What a good idea, especially if the reader of the original story is a reluctant one. These stories ranged from funny to touching to disturbing, and covered a lot of issues that are relevant to teens. Racism, violenc ...more
Molly Duerré
Jan 14, 2013 Molly Duerré rated it liked it
I found "A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune" to be a good example of how to write a short story well. Although I found the story itself to be pretty average in terms of originality, I enjoyed it in terms of the writing. For teens and young adults experiencing issues with self-esteem and body image, I think that this story is highly relatable. I found the male's perspective to be refreshing; we generally only get to read about issues with body image from the female point of view. Angus, ...more
Lauren Kramer
Mar 03, 2012 Lauren Kramer rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult-2012
These six short stories brought to life what outside things can affect an athlete's performance. What sounded like a book of pure sports stories ended up revealing background stories and troubles that occur outside of the field or court. There were 5 characters that the reader followed: Angus, Johnny, Lionel, Jack, and Louie. These character struggle through family and friend issues, abuse, death, and many other reasons. Towards the end of their stories, a sense of pride and growth is developed ...more
Kate Sherry
"A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune" is such a fun way to remember how emotionally charged high school can be. There are real problems and some not so real problems all mashing together to create...confusion. This story, however, takes the confusion out of the story. It is simply getting to follow the "fat kid" through some scenarios. Whether you were the "fat kid" or the "popular kid" or the "athletic kid" or whatever kind of kid you were, I would guess that you can relate to this stor ...more
Feb 09, 2009 Monica rated it it was amazing
Athletic Shorts is a collection of short stories by Chris Crutcher. All but one of the stories features characters from a previous Crutcher book. In “A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune,” Angus struggles with fitting in at school while being overweight and having two sets of gay parents. He is elected Winter Ball King as a joke, he has to dance with the love of his life, Melissa LeFevre and deal with her obnoxious boyfriend. In “The Pin,” Johnny and his disciplinarian father compete agai ...more
Frank Bonfiglio
Jan 16, 2013 Frank Bonfiglio rated it it was amazing
Some of the best pre-teaching advice I have ever received came from my old 7th grade language arts teacher. When I recently asked her for any advice on the field of teaching, she told me that the teenage years are tough--especially for those who get riddiculed more than others. She advised me to pay close attention to those students--and I will.

"A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune" echoes this message from my former teacher loud and clear. Throughout this short story, I could not help b
Christine Kloss
Mar 26, 2009 Christine Kloss rated it really liked it
Shelves: jessica-s-class
Margaret A. Edwards Award--my choice

I liked this book, it was more of a quick read that would appeal especially to boys.

This book consists of six short stories that are based off of true encounters by the author Chris Crutcher.

The stories are centered around sports, wrestling in particular. They also deal with pressures boys have by their parents to be the best in athletics. We meet characters such as Johnny who has an overbearing father who belittles him and his mother. His father, Cecil B. Riv
Jul 26, 2011 Wolfman rated it liked it
Most of the characters in these stories appeared in Crutcher's earlier novels, none of which except Stotan have I read. Because of that, I could only go on the stories themselves, and in some cases I think they would have been more effective if I had read the earlier works. As usual with Crutcher, the stories address some ugly realities, but that is balanced with humor and strong narrative voices. One problem is that with one notable exception (Telephone Man), his tough-talking teenaged narrator ...more
Melissa Mcavoy
Six dramatic short stories, each of which involve a sport, take on an array of teenage issues: avoiding humiliation and getting the girl, racism, father son rivalry, overcoming loss and facing challenge. The stories have unexpected twists, a lot of humor, nuanced and believable male protagonists and many strong female characters. Five of the stories feature characters found in other Crutcher novels.
This collection of short stories reveals what a talented writer Chris Crutcher is. A wide range of
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Mechele R. Dillard for

In ATHLETIC SHORTS, Chris Crutcher presents original short stories involving characters from his previous novels. In the book's forward, Crutcher explains, "In my travels around the country and in letters from readers, I am constantly asked what happens to certain characters in my books. So once in a while I check in" (pp. ix-x).

Each of these short stories involves a central character from a previous novel, but, while Crutcher may have intended
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Chris Crutcher's writing is controversial, and has been frequently challenged and even banned by individuals who want to censor his books by removing them from libraries and classrooms. Running Loose and Athletic Shorts were on the ALA's top 100 list of most frequently challenged books for 1990-2000. His books generally feature teens coping with serious problems, including abusive parents, racial ...more
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