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Athletic Shorts; 6 Short Stories

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,917 Ratings  ·  212 Reviews

These six powerful short stories chronicle bits of the lives of characters, major and minor, who have walked the rugged terrain of Chris Crutcher's earlier works. They also introduce some new and unforgettable personalities who may well be heard from again in future books. As with all Crutcher's work, these are stories about athletes, and yet they are not sport stories. Th

Mass Market Paperback, 161 pages
Published October 1st 1992 by Laurel Leaf (first published January 1st 1991)
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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
Jul 10, 2016 Leftbanker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Kellie Wagner
Oct 08, 2011 Kellie Wagner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
*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
May 05, 2013 Marcia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Logan Erdmann
Mar 22, 2013 Logan Erdmann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 16, 2015 Nick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
Sep 11, 2014 Conor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 11, 2014 Adan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Elizabeth Harty
Sep 11, 2014 Elizabeth Harty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 02, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tears and laughter alternated during my reading of Chris Crutcher’s Athletic Shorts. You do not need to be a sports fan to relate to this collection of stories. I was surprised how well connected I felt with each protagonist in the 20 or so pages. He used the main characters from his already published novels, except for Angus Bethune in the first story, to write about the familiar character’s future experiences or stories which happened prior to their novel. Crutcher’s stories included fools and ...more
Julie Suzanne
I can't believe how raw and poignant these stories are. I didn't like the first story, as I thought it was inauthentic, but the rest of this six-story collection is genuine, politically incorrect like you wouldn't believe, and serious. Crutcher's style of writing impressed me; I chuckled and smiled as much as cried, and I felt, really FELT for each of the protagonists. Issues dealt with without shame or preachiness include having a terrible relationship with a parent, death, disastrous consequen ...more
Apr 06, 2016 Sofia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful collection of short stories. The stories all revolve around characters that are involved in sports, but the stories they tell are so powerful. Some stories deal with death, racism, bigotry, family relationships, friendships, and bullying. Each character and his story is so different and unique. My favorite short story was "Telephone Man." I think it speaks greatly to the importance of teaching children to respect and value every person, regardless of the color of their skin. ...more
This book started out really good. I love the first 4 stories. All about boys and sports and how they deal with issues that arise between guys. I felt that I wanted to put this in my library. However the last two stories had nothing to do with sports at all. The last two stories dealt with racism and aids and how people treat people with aids, which is ok but I thought this book was short stories about sports and boys. Racism could have been in a book about racism and aides. So it was a let down ...more
Apr 06, 2016 Nicolle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written! Chris Crutcher does not disappoint in his six short stories that he has combined to draw the reader in with powerful messages. The short stories allow the reader to experience what the characters are going through and what they have to do to overcome challenges. Each story has a different lesson or message in which we receive in the end. Even though they are short stories the messages leave the reader with a sense of understanding and the ability to search within your own so ...more
Jul 13, 2016 Neil rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is OK, although the stories at the end, which are, admirably, about racism and homophobia, have become somewhat dated in the societal views that they portray. There are cultural references throughout that would be lost on a current teen. Crutcher's novels hold up better (I think. It's been a while since I read them).

That said, three of the stories are excellent: the first story, upon which the movie Angus is based, about a plus-size teen with gay parents who is named prom king; and the two
Isaiah Pierce
This book is a great book. In the first story it travels through Angus's experiences perfectly. In one case when he describes his name and how he feels about it. Which he obviously disagreed with the name, but he can't do anything about it. The ending turned out pretty well. In this conclusion he finally shares feelings with his dream girl Melissa. As well he resolves conflicts with Rick. His teammate who always tries to ruin everything he does. Over all its a great book for athletics to read, b ...more
This is a re-read for me--read it back when it was published in the early nineties. Wow--this book has been around since I was in high school! Some of the stories are a bit dated, so I guess we can call this short story collection historical fiction.

In typical Chris Crutcher fashion, he tackles racism, bigotry, homosexuality, weight issues, and about everything else teens deal with in a straight-forward, non-preachy way. Some of these stories star characters from his previous novels, so it's fa
Feb 09, 2009 Monica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Christine Kloss
May 14, 2009 Christine Kloss rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Nov 04, 2009 Ellen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These are truly outstanding short stories that will impart moral lessons to young people, and they weren’t lost on me either.

What I also appreciated was the quality of the structure of the stories. Crutcher himself said, “The short-story form forced me to be precise beyond what had been required before, and the process gave me invaluable lessons in word and idea economy (Athletic Shorts, p. 4).”

Cormier’s I am the Cheese, which I read a month or so ago, has an outstanding novel structure. M.H. Ab
Jun 02, 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
Nov 18, 2008 Frances rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 26, 2008 Linsay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 09, 2012 Jolanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Maximilian Clark
Jun 25, 2009 Maximilian Clark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adol-lit
Chris Crutcher enjoys a cathartic experience in writing this collection of shorts inspired by characters from other books he has written (except for the very entertaining first entry A Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune). Chris is very explicit in his self-assessment: he writes stories for boys and especially boys who aren't typically engaged by reading. In athletic shorts he definitely hits on the issues young men are concerned with: sports and women.

Though sports-themed, not all the stories a
Jennifer Haight
Mar 12, 2011 Jennifer Haight rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The writing style of the short stories that are collected in the book Athletic Shorts is simple and direct, with little use of figurative language or other literary devices. Many clichés are used which make readers comfortable because they are familiar with the phrasing and it allows the author to push the reader into material that they may otherwise be less comfortable with. One of the few metaphors that I found in the book is preceded with the sentence “Fishing was a metaphor for life with my ...more
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
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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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