Tom Gase's Reviews > Our Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen

Our Boys by Joe Drape
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Nov 11, 10

Read from November 06 to 11, 2010

A pretty good book by Joe Drape about a football team from Smith Center, Kansas that attempt to break the state record for most consecutive wins in a row for a high school football team at 67. The team begins the 2008 season with 54 straight wins, so in order to break the record the team, the Redmen, need to win the state championship. So yeah, this book is kind of predictable. Jeez, I wonder if they have a chance to get to that state championship game??? I won't tell you who wins though.

The book is good in that it describes what life is like in a small town with a population below 2,000 (my last apartment complex had about as many people in it in Camarillo, CA.) in a midwestern town. I felt like I was living in Smith Center myself as I read the book. The author also does a good job of describing the players and what they go through each and every day. I really felt I got to know most of the players.

Now the problems. One, I liked this book the first time when it was called Friday Night Lights and every other book that has tried to rip that one off in the last 20 years. A few years back I thought about doing the same thing myself with the football team from Oaks Christian but I didn't. It probably would have been very similiar to this book, only in a bigger town. The second problem I had with the book is that I really felt the writer got too close to the team and was like a fan rather than a reporter. Drape brings this up a couple times near the end of the book, saying he didn't want to become a fan. Too late Joe, this read like a fan's perspective and not a writers. If something even close to remotely bad happened to this team or anyone on it, I got the feeling that Drape would not report it because he had grown too close to the team himself. I wondered if having your 3-year-old son hanging out with the team was considered good ethics for a reporter, even if he WAS trying to be a good father. I did get the feeling that this team actually WAS squeaky clean because the city is located in the butt-center of nowhere, and I DO believe these were good kids. But I also believed that the whole story wasn't being told, that this was at times too good to be true. I don't know, just my opinion I guess.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves high school football, and fans of the book Friday Night Lights will also enjoy this, although not as much.
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