No coach, no money for uniforms, not enough boys to play football. No problem. Will Tyler, the likeable hero of The Underdogs will find a way to solveNo coach, no money for uniforms, not enough boys to play football. No problem. Will Tyler, the likeable hero of The Underdogs will find a way to solve the problems facing his team.
Mike Lupica, the New York Daily News columnist, has penned several sport books about kids in baseball and basketball. Typically the kids have to overcome obstacles on the field, but also off of the field. I grew up reading a lot of sports books for kids and have read other Lupica novels. They are high quality entertaining novels for kids, who like to read about sports.
In this novel, Will Tyler is a star halfback, who fumbled the ball last year in the league championship game. A year later, he dreams of going back to the championship game and winning. However, Lupica skillfully places this novel squarely in the economic times we live in today. Tyler’s town, Forbes, Pennsylvania, is in economic decline. The sneaker factory has closed leaving half the town unemployed. Will's father is delivering the mail and going to school at night to try to learn new skills. The town is trying to scrape by with limited resources so it decides to cancel the football program for middle school. The team Tyler played for has no coach and no uniforms. It needs $10,000 just to play.
Tyler finds a way to get a sponsor to put up the money to allow the school to field a team. Now he has to find a coach and 10 other kids to play football. He convinces his father, who used to be a star high school football star that he needs football and should coach the team. Tyler finds only 9 other boys to play.
The problem is that one of the boy’s from last year’s team has an ex football star father who loudly ridicules his son from the sidelines. The boy, Troy, will not play. Tyler knows a girl Hannah who has game. He convinces his father, the coach, and then the rest of the team to let her join. This is not a novel about girls playing football. Lupica has Hannah join the team, but its Tyler's story and Hannah playing football is just one of the subplots in the story.
Now that the team has 11 players and a coach it has to play the games. Lupica doesn’t bore young readers with a lot of sports vernacular. The prose is readable and easily accessible.
Tyler’s team faces more obstacles along the way to the big game including the loss of a star player to injury and the loss of Tyler's best friend, who has to move away mid season, but the team gets help from an unexpected quarter and Tyler gets to once again go for the winning score in the big game.
It’s a fun book for fans of juvenile sports books. ...more
"A Life Intercepted" by Charles Martin is a good sports story about a former star quarterback who trains a high school player, while facing a brutal p"A Life Intercepted" by Charles Martin is a good sports story about a former star quarterback who trains a high school player, while facing a brutal press and an unforgiving public.
Matthew Rising was an up and coming quarterback superstar poised to have an incredible football career. His impending superstardom, however, is derailed when he is accused and ultimately found guilty of sexual assault. Rising denies the accusation and has never given up proclaiming his innocence.
When the story opens, Rising is about to be let out of prison and returns to his old hometown to look for his wife, who he has not seen since he was sentenced. He is forsaken by many of his old friends, forced to wear an ankle monitor, and had to register as a sex offender. Rising is also battling an old high school student, who has never forgiven him for rejecting her. Now a media personality, she has it in for Rising.
Meanwhile, in town, Dalton Rodgers, a 17 year old football player is watching film of Rising's best games with Sister Lynn, who has raised him. Rodgers was an up and coming high school star until a new coach changed his throwing motion and he lost his starting position.
These three people will meet soon enough and Rising will take on the job of helping Rodgers to regain his throwing motion.
Rising will face many challenges in his old town, not the least of which is winning back his wife and life. But there is little doubt how the story will turn out.
While the story, message and the villain in this inspirational tale are as obvious as the nose on your face, there is plenty of football action for any sports fan.
Its a very decent sports story. While there is a inspirational message, it does not interfere with one's enjoyment of this football story....more