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Thunder on the Tundra: Football Above the Arctic Circle
by Lew Freedman
The Whalers are the only football team above the Arctic Circle: 330 north to be exact, a place with no grass, no trees, and plenty of permafrost. Of the 44 Eskimo, Tongan, Samoan, Asian-American, African-American and Caucasian teenagers who signed up for this experiment, only four had ever played organized football before. Seasoned journalist Lew Freedman captures this ...more
Paperback, 264 pages
Published August 1st 2008 by Alaska Northwest Books
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I figured I had to read it since it was about Barrow. It was pretty cheesy, although what can you expect about a book about Barrow teenagers? The author was just trying to benefit from the attention Barrow got from a new football program. He does bring in some history of the North Slope although it makes it even more cheesy by comparing this stuff to the teenage boys, and 1 girl, playing football. The reality is that the football program took money away from academics in an already academically ...more
Founded in 2006, The Barrow Whalers are the only high school football team north of the Arctic Circle. Games are played across the street from the Arctic Ocean. Whales frequently swim by, security guards are on hand to scare off polar bears, and the players go swimming in the frigid water after victories. Welcome to the real frozen tundra!
Having lived in Alaska for a short time, just the logistics of getting players and equipment to faraway places is fascinating. The author does a good job detailing the needling humor of teenage boys, although game details are overused to an extent. Eagle Blue, written about the Fort Yukon basketball team, remains the best book of this sort, but this one is in the same class.