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Athletic Shorts: Six Short Stories

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  2,260 ratings  ·  243 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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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  2,260 ratings  ·  243 reviews

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Mar 07, 2009 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 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
Athletic Shorts is a collection of six short stories by Crutcher, all revolving around jocks in difficult, real-life situations. Each story has it's own theme that range from body image, self-esteem, racism and homosexuality. Given that they were all written by the same author, I find no story outshines the other. And given that this book was originally published in the 90s, I can see why it was banned, the stories are gritty and goes to real length to portray the issues at hand in a realistic w ...more
Trent Swaim
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Athletic Shorts was a collection of short stories that will remain close to my heart and in my memory for years to come. I plan to pickup my own copy ASAP. As a former high school athlete, many of the emotions of the characters in the stories I could completely relate to and understand. This book made me think. It made my laugh so hard. Probably more than anything, it made me wish I was in high school again. 10/10
Feb 28, 2018 rated it liked it
A good book but it doesn’t really talk about sports and I couldn’t finish
Sierra R.
It was a good book, and it was a short read book and I would recommend this book to anyone who likes short read books.
Apr 22, 2013 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 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 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. He
Jul 07, 2016 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 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
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing

Now that I'm older, I look back on school years gone by and growing up/coming of age. As with all adults, or most, we think "If only I knew then what I know now." As youngsters we worried about who liked us and who didn't like us. I'm not referring to the romantic like. The simplest things in life made us think it will either ruin us for life or make us heroes.


I wish I could redo a lot of things, one of them being school. Mostly high school. I wasn't a
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dribble Dribble Slam Dunk

Chris Crutcher
Young adult novel
1991 (Green willow Books)
Media type
Print (hardback & paperback)
208 pp

Athletic shorts is a Young adult novel the consists of six short stories that all take place in a modern time period in which there are a number of different main characters due to the multiple different stories. Throughout all of the short stories they all contained a similar conflict in which a character is a some disadvantage or has encountere
Sam Hopper
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Why haven't I found this guy before? Because he is banned in many libraries.
This book, along with Whale Talk and others, is why he is banned. It is this book, along with Whale Talk and the others, why he shouldn't be banned. I understand the concern, and quite frankly I'm a bit hesitant about giving it to MS. Nonetheless, many many people unfortunately need to read these to grow up. Likewise, as Crutcher says, kids are exposed to this everyday, why hide from it? Teach it!

"Racism speaks volumes a
Aly Kennedy
Mar 26, 2017 rated it liked it
The six short stories that Chris Crutcher includes in this book are all interwoven with sports and all have teenage male protagonists, but with very different problems and issues to work through. Crutcher writes with wit as we preview peeks into the lives of these teenagers. A few of the characters were interesting and would maybe worth reading one of his books that are dedicated to those specific characters.

Despite what the cover might have you think, the stories are not sports-centric. In mos
Kim Rumrey
May 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed Chris Crutcher's short stories and was glad to know that they came from the characters and situations that he wrote in some of his previous novels. When a author has the opportunity to further develop aspects from a previous novel that he didn't get to explore at the time, great things can happen. The theme of overcoming adversity is really prevalent in this collection which I think will appeal to a broad teen audience. These are all sports related stories, but the sportiness is ...more
Alexandra Doucette
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune:
Although Angus Bethune's character is someone I feel not all teens could directly relate to (physically and family wise), I do think that there are aspects of Angus that are relatable to everyone. Angus is very self-conscious, and is often picked on for the way that he looks because he is a little bigger than everyone else. His family is also a little different than his classmates, and is another reason his often teased and picked on. Although not all
Sharon Cote
Apr 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Let me start with the fact that I don't really like short stories. I LOVED Athletic Shorts, which is a collection of short stories. But, Crutcher does a wonderful job of actually ending the story, as well as the prologues before the story let you know why he wrote it or how he came up with the idea. I have read all of his books, and most of them are very, very good, and all of them are good. But these short stories wee able to pack a lot into very small packages, in classic Crutcher style that m ...more
Sean S
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book on a whim due to random recommendation via a library on Overdrive. I really enjoyed the brisk pace of the stories, and they felt fleshed out while also feeling fast paced. The stories have sports as a theme but the real tangent lies in the racist, sexism, homophobia, etc. I looked up the author and he appears to have a background working with youths in a therapeutic setting, so I can imagine where he gets his source material. Good stuff, and it will lead me to check out som ...more
Xavier Juarez
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Athletic Shorts: Six short stories is a short chapter book that has six different stories that don't have any similarities amongst another. Characters are depicted through authentic detail and issues that are rather not talked about amongst people. Some stories are gruesome and violent with vulgar slurs and phrases. I would recommend this story for students that are in high school, but even then its a reach. Chris is brutally honest in most of these short stories and these athletes deal with iss ...more
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book. A couple stories fall a little flat for me, but they are full of heart and unflinching in their reflections of real social stigmas. Pretty funny too, at least in part. I'm especially glad to finally read the source material for one of my favorite movies as a kid (and still to this day, to be honest), Angus, though my favorite story of the collection is the sixth and final. I enjoyed this book now as an adult and would have especially loved it when I was in junior high. ...more
-The book is very good. Short and sweet. It’s a very good, I would encourage anyone to read this. It’s the type of book that hits you right in the heart. It does have some funny parts to it but it gets serious. I rated it a 9 out of 10. The only reason its not a 10 is because it’s stories do not relate to each other at all and I think it would have been better if they made it so they tied into one another. It’s a great read, I recommend it to everyone and their grandma.
Rylee Gardner Dunkin
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was so interesting. Coming from an athlete's perspective I enjoyed that this book was about the lives of athletes and their stories. Although this book had six different short stories, each one was interesting and had so much to it. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys drama and is interested in sports. ...more
Caleb Gipson
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I only read the first story but it was really intriguing. It gives you a look into the life of a very overweight, emotional teen. He struggles to accomplish much in high school due to being a social outcast. He pushes through to become an amazing person. Although the only change in his person is his attitude.
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
I loved this book. I appreciated that the author gave a little descriptor before each story to help the reader understand where we were in the protagonists life. I haven't read Chris Crutcher's books in the past, but getting a little insight helped me and I would imagine helps previous readers of his work.

I think the author did a good job of taking the reader back to their teenage years, with all the angst and worry and 'unknown'. I liked the descriptions of each of the athletic events, and how
Mar 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Crutchers writing always seems to take me back to my teenage years and articulate the thoughts I couldn't articulate at that age, and sometimes have trouble articulating at this age. Also, the topics he covers, during decades that were scared to bring them up, he addressed flawlessly during that were. I loved it and I've lived everything I've read by him. ...more
Ashley Colleen
Jan 14, 2013 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
Oct 23, 2018 rated it liked it
I thought this book was okay it wasn't good and it wasn't great but it teaches a very important lesson that people are different and have their own problems but it doesn't mean that we should be mean to them we should support them and be there for them. ...more
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
We all know how annoying I find Sports Books but it’s different with this one. Maybe because they were short stories so there wasn’t too much sports description, but I think this book tackles big issues really well!
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Powerful stories worth reading.
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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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