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Athletic Shorts: Six Short Stories

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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+

208 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1991

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About the author

Chris Crutcher

28 books789 followers
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 and religious prejudice, mental and physical disability, and poverty; these themes are viewed as too mature for children. Other cited reasons for censorship include strong language and depictions of homosexuality. Despite this controversy, Crutcher's writing has received many awards.

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5 stars
646 (28%)
4 stars
839 (36%)
3 stars
598 (26%)
2 stars
155 (6%)
1 star
60 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 252 reviews
Profile Image for Bonnie.
169 reviews288 followers
April 18, 2009

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 basic lessons are best taught by reflecting the truth…[People:]…think kids should not be exposed in print to what they are exposed in their lives.” I accept his argument on that point.

My favourite story, written in 1991, and the final story in this slim volume, is “In the Time I Get”, a story about AIDS. By the time I read this, I had no doubt absorbed Chris’ style, and developed an appreciation for each lesson he wished the reader to learn in each story. The ending of the story found me closing the cover of the book with a tear in my eye.

I can see this book being used in high schools as a motivator for reluctant readers, male or female. I should also note that the title does not entirely reflect the content of the stories: sports are certainly a part, but the bigger issues are at the heart of Crutcher’s stories. So, whether the student is a jock or not is immaterial.

Adults may find these stories worthwhile reading. I would also recommend this book to anyone wanting to write short stories, especially stories with a definite beginning, middle and end. I found it refreshing to read short stories with clear endings.
Profile Image for Brenda Morris.
343 reviews2 followers
August 3, 2007
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 happen to get back to the book for some time, you haven't forgotten all the details that will help you pick it up again.

Readers who have already read some of Crutcher's work will probably recognize characters and settings, as he tends to set his stories in the same geographical area.
Profile Image for Ryan.
534 reviews
January 9, 2021
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 way, that many other YA novels would avoid or overlook at the time. But like the author said, sometimes the best way to inform others is to be direct about the issues at hand. The stories I found very moving in this are The Pin, Goin' Fishin' and In The Time I Get.
10 reviews
December 15, 2019
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
6 reviews
March 1, 2018
A good book but it doesn’t really talk about sports and I couldn’t finish
22 reviews
November 6, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Susan.
20 reviews1 follower
April 23, 2013
*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 of one. Not only that, but he must often defend both of his parents who are gay while also being a star football player in a school community that feels somewhat hostile to him.
Two other stories describe the intense physical training and the discipline of cutting weight in order to make a certain weight class for the wrestling team. One tale is about an abusive father who is finally beaten by his son in a wrestling match. Another is about a high school junior cleverly addressing the humiliation of having to wrestle a champion who is a girl.
Several stories are interesting examinations of racism and bigotry. In one a high school graduate football player is faced with his fears of a homosexual coworker at his summer job. Another features an extremely racist boy who questions what he’s learned about others from his father as he navigates a new mixed race high school. The final story tells how swimming saved Lionel Serbousek’s life and provided a way of dealing with the rage he has about the death of his family.

While none of these stories are directly about sports, athleticism is an important defining characteristic for these realistic portrayals. Chris Crutcher briefly immerses the reader into intense experiences that will satisfy teens and make them want more. Recommended.

*Gr 8-12--A winning collection of stories, one of which has appeared in print before. Some of the characters from Crutcher novels pop up in these stories, often speaking in a colloquial and realistic first-person voice. As the title suggests, athletics are part of the selections; and Crutcher, as usual, is best at accurately portraying the world of high school teammates and coaches--readers can practically smell the sweat. In the first story--a monologue by a fat guy who manages to keep his dignity-the author seamlessly blends humor with more serious elements. Crutcher's fans expect almost operatic flights of emotion, and he more than delivers here. The short story format keeps the action focused and definitely packs a punch. The final entry, a gritty, no-holds-barred account of the fear surrounding AIDS, is especially effective. These Athletic Shorts will speak to YAs, touch them deeply, and introduce them to characters they'll want to know better.

Morning, T., Jones, T. E., Toth, L., & Fleishhacker, J. (1991). Athletic Shorts: Six Short Stories (Book). School Library Journal, 37(9), 278.
Profile Image for Kellie Wagner.
252 reviews2 followers
October 8, 2011
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 prewriting thoughts picking plots and character names.

There are six different stories within this book. Although the characters deal with athletics, it's really a secondary conflict in all of their lives. The characters each face something much more serious including: gay parents, a gay friend, a sick friend, the death of a best friend...etc. It goes to show stories within stories. Even within a short story, Crutcher writes in a way that shows such character growth within teens. In the story about a friend with AIDS, the main character, Louie, grows tremendously from a friend afraid to be near the AIDS victim to learning a lesson about living a full life. "I'm going to see how far I can go in the time I get."

Main characters include all high school teenagers.

Angus-a fat kid always bullied and ready to take his stance.

Petey Shroshrire and his father who wrestle each other in front of the student body and parents in an effort to show more than just the best wrestler.

Petey and Chris Byers who are scheduled to wrestle each other this school year. Chris Byers is a female wrestler and Petey is afraid to forfeit but also afraid of losing.

Lionel Serbousek and Neal were best friends. Neal is the cause of the death of Lionel's parents and brother during a boating accident.

Louie and Darren. Louie lost his girlfriend in a prior Crutcher book, and in this story he deals with his new friend and coworker, Darren, an AIDS victim.

This book is a fast read, but the material is not light. Crutcher takes serious issues head on and doesn't ignore the fact that teenagers deal with death, love, loss, disease, and even worse.
12 reviews1 follower
May 6, 2013
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 uses humor to help make sense of the problems as well as giving voice to characters that struggle with their environment, their families and mostly themselves.
Crutcher's collection of short stories hits the mark on a number of levels. Although this book is older it still applies today. Teens still struggle with many of the same issues dealt with in the stories. This book shows a way forward; a path to hope and a reassurance that teens can survive this time of their lives. This is a message that young people today still need to hear and that Crutcher is able to offer without being preachy or unrealistic. Highly recommended for libraries to keep on the shelf.
Profile Image for Leftbanker.
835 reviews337 followers
July 10, 2016
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-working and shy kid who is out to make the best of things. There is an underlying sweetness to all of these tales that makes you wish that life could be this simple and good and that stuff like wrestling, swimming, and running actually count for something.
32 reviews1 follower
March 22, 2013
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 reading more books by this author.
Profile Image for Xavier Juarez.
51 reviews3 followers
November 18, 2019
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 issues that are not necessarily always discussed.
Profile Image for Rachel.
1,069 reviews46 followers
July 8, 2021
I’m thinking low four. Maybe I’m rating this a little high. Kinda iffy on some of the stories. Yet I’m giving props for originality (perhaps more accurately, an age focus that is outside my usual wheelhouse) and the fact that one of these stories was adapted into a favorite movie of mine, “Angus”!

Apparently said short, “A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune,” is the only one that Crutcher did not expand from an already existing novel. In the forward to this piece, he says he wrote it for a friend who was collecting short stories for a YA anthology. This was in 1988, and the YA marketplace was significantly different than it is now. The fantasy resurgence hadn’t taken off full throttle yet.

All of the stories in this collection are contemporary, taking place in small town, “flyover country” America, with a teenage boy at the center, and of course some connection to sports. With Angus, he’s a fat kid who plays football. This is also true in the movie. What didn’t make it to the transition to the silver spring was the fact that Crutcher gave him two sets of gay parents. :o (His biological parents divorced after he was born and each married a same sex partner.)

Honestly, it felt more like a gimmick than anything else. Maybe it’s not surprising that the parts of this story I liked the most were the ones that mapped closely to the movie. Angus gets some witty lines in narration, which make it to voiceover on film. Thematically there’s a lot to do with “having your moment” (the climax of the story revolves around Angus attending a dance as winter king with the winter queen aka his crush, Melissa.) Even more importantly, there’s this metaphor about how it’s outsiders like Angus, not indestructible forces like Superman, who are brave. Angus’s stepdad gets the speech in the book where his grandfather gets it in the movie.

I think a couple of the other stories were gimmicky, too, like “The Other Pin.” In it, high school wrestler Petey Stropshire, has to wrestle a girl from another team, Chris Byers. Her actual gender is a shocker reveal for when Petey and his friends unknowingly run into her at the mall. It ends with them both being uncomfortable and acting out some caveman goof at the match, and I didn’t think any of it was necessarily true to what it would be like for a girl to be on a boy’s wrestling team. Or if it rang true for a girl to be on a boy’s wrestling team.

This is the ’80s, after all, a less socially acceptable time for feminism and diverse expression. In another story, “Telephone Man,” Crutcher attempts to take a deep dive into racism. “The Telephone Man,” aka Jack Simpson, a high schooler who wears telephone equipment on his hip (because he likes to fix telephones?) and has a running, racist commentary in his head, especially against Black people. This comes from his dad, apparently, a racist fencer. The point of the story boils down to a Black school administrator and a fellow student helping Jack out (the latter when Jack is being bullied by a gang of Chinese kids, which both boys call “China men.”) I guess the point is that racism is bad…but also common and used against all non-white groups? I didn’t really get why Jack had this running commentary in his head anyway. I suppose it had to do with some beef with his dad, which wasn’t really developed in the story.

The final kinda “meh” story in the collection was “Goin’ Fishin’.” The main character, Lionel aka Lion’s family was all killed on a lake when a drunk high school swimmer cut their family boat in two (Lion saw impending doom and jumped in the water.) A few years later, the perpetrator, Neal, is dying and strung out on drugs, and there’s a question about whether Lion will forgive him. I mean, it wasn’t bad, but it felt a little melodramatic, and what was with Lion being allowed to live alone at 14 anyway? Maybe this is a commentary on social services in small rural towns? I mostly appreciated how he turned to swimming for solace.

Finally, to end with we have the strongest two stories. I liked “The Pin,” where the antagonism between father and son was definitely laid out. Protagonist Johnny Rivers is a wrestler who gets the chance to publicly wrestle his very fit and antagonistic father. It ends with a rumination on what we today would call toxic masculinity.

But number one in my book is “In the Time I Get,” which handles gay themes with care. Main character at footballer goes to his summer job and is confronted by his boss’s gay nephew, 25-year-old Darren who has returned home to die from AIDS. Louie, of course, starts the story as homophobic as most of the rest of the characters, but he slowly and authentically grows to see Darren as a person. I’m glad something like this could be written during the AIDS epidemic, when homophobia was far more widespread.

So yeah—these YA boys’ stories from the ‘80s…not my usual! “Angus” was filmed in the mid-90s, when I was heading into middle school, so I do sorta think it “speaks” to my generation (there’s also more universal themes. Plus subplots and such that couldn’t be fleshed out in a short story.) I’m glad I gave it a go, and I guess I’m not surprised by my final thoughts about story vs adaptation. A little *shruggy* over all, but with a couple of standouts.
Profile Image for Nikki.
38 reviews5 followers
October 22, 2017

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 good student for I hated school. However, it was the best year of my life and the worst. Its funny to think that my only job back then was to go to school and yet I complained, as most kids do. My job today is going to work, paying bills, getting the car fixed, keeping the house up and on and on and on.


This is what draws me to young adult books, especially those by Judy Blume. It allows me to escape from the real world and relive those days of junior high and high school. This is also why I enjoyed reading Robert Cormier books. Of all the Judy Blume books my favorite is Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret (1970). I read the book around 2010 or 2011. Yes, I was well into my adult years by then. But it took me back to Margaret's school age years.

And this why I enjoyed Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher. High school is the them in these collective short stories and what we deemed important during that time. You don't have to be a jock to be able to relate to the stories or the people. You just have to have gone to high school.


Angus is the fat kid in school who has to unconventional families (for that time - 1984) and has been voted Home Coming King. He knows it was done as a joke, but soon the joke is on everyone else. However, the journey Angus and us take to get that point hits home.

Johnny has a father who is very controlling and extremely hard on Johnny. Johnny is waiting for the day he can seek revenge on his father and that day arrives, but will revenge be as sweet as he thinks?

Petey is either you or someone you knew in school. He wants to do what's right, but has a tug of war with himself on what that is. If he pleases this person, then this might happen. If he please someone else, then that might happen. Petey learns you can't please everyone and that's OK. He's willing to take one for the team...Team Petey.

Lionel lost his parents in a boating accident at age 14. He's been on his own since then as well. Lionel is struggling with the anger he's held inside for the one person who caused his parents death. Anger with a mixture of high school and the future ahead of you is bad cocktail. Or is it?

These are some of the stories in the book that will take you back to your younger days and school.

Before each story, Crutcher gives a background on where the stories came from which gives even more life to them.


I was going to complain about the use of the N word in the story titled Telephone Man but realized I would be a big hypocrite if I did so. Why? Well because I've written a historical fiction novel (still in the works ) about the concentration camps and my book is filled with degrading words the Nazis (and some Germans) would call Jews. Just be forewarned, the story is filled with the N word and not so nice things regarding Asians and anyone else Telephone Man has been taught to hate.
May 31, 2019
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 encountered a hardship in their lives and they end up overcoming it and doing something amazing. The style of Chris involves various levels of humor and long descriptive sentences often describing someone or someone's life.

During This read I Loved how all of the short stories reflected a similar theme in a triumphant return to life.

Although Athletic Shorts is humorous and hold many controversial points its has its weaknesses. Throughout the book in all of the short stories all of the people and their lives are to thoroughly explained and I believe that the author doesn't need to explain as much as he did about the characters to understand them.

Overall I would have to say the the good definitely outweighs the bad in Athletic Shorts the writing style of the author is super repeatable and he is super humors which catches the eyes of the readers and keeps them interested in what is going on. I really enjoyed how all of the people in the book had had something rough go on during their lives and continued to persevere until they accomplished what they wanted.

Athletic shorts was banned in most states from 2000-2009 because of its crude use of words and its various forms of racism. I don't believe that this book should be required for reading but I definitely would suggest it cause of its influential theme and i believe that this book should be recommended for young to mid age adults.
Profile Image for Sam Hopper.
113 reviews
November 9, 2019
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 about those who hide behind it, says exactly nothing of those at whom its directed." Chris Crutcher

Told in 6 short stories with characters so unique...and very real...not all about racism, but also other young adult problems. Banned because...well...they are too realistic.

Story 1: Brilliant, funny and cheers for the underdog! Something similar happened at my HS prom....sad.

Story 2: Vision Quest meets Bad News Bears. I laughed until I nearly wet myself...for about a week....over 1 joke, and there were many. So funny and yet so incredibly touching.

Story 3: A little too unrealistic for Crutcher I think, but a good story nonetheless. Also very funny.

Story 4. So tragic and so real. I wanted to cry for both of these guys. Great story!

Story 5: My mouth hung open in awe thinking how can anyone possibly write this and get it published...then in reflection thinking why hasn't anyone written this before? Every racist should read this...then look in a mirror.

Story 6: This almost brought me to tears...for many reasons.

Crutcher makes you think, laugh, cry and wonder...all before you can think about blinking again.
Profile Image for Haruko reads.
750 reviews
February 17, 2022
Gotta be honest, I probably would have never picked this book up except for the fact that it's been banned so many times. And I have to say, I'm glad I've read it!

This series of short stories features characters from Crutcher's other novels, but I found them enjoyable even as a reader unfamiliar with his work. I can see why this book has caused so much pearl clutching, since it speaks so candidly about gay men, AIDS, drugs, death, sexism, racism (warning for extensive use of slurs), prejudice, sex, religion, abusive parents... I could go on. That being said, I think all of these topics are discussed with care and nuance, and it's plain the Crutcher respects his young readers with these complicated topics. My favorite story in the collection was The Pin (about a high school wrestler who decides to wrestle his abusive father).

I probably won't be reading more Crutcher, because although some of these stories were very heartfelt, the focus on sports isn't really for me, and the adolescent boy narratives sometimes led to fairly two-dimensional female characters, but that being said I think the world is better for having this book, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys sports novels or deliberately reading banned books.
Profile Image for K.
917 reviews3 followers
July 18, 2023
I know absolutely nothing of these characters but I still wanted to read this. Most of them were good enough that I may look into the stories the characters originate from.

1st story -⭐���⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
A brief moment in the life of angus Bethune
Short and sweet. The story was good, the characters we were introduced to were nice. I loved that Angus could actually talk to all of his parents and that the girl was willing to open up to him.

2nd story -⭐️⭐️⭐️
The pin
Interesting. I liked the jokes and the ending was very interesting.

3rd story ⭐️⭐️⭐️
The other pin
The ending was amusing and the message was good.

4th story- ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Goin’ fishin
This one had a really good message. Sometimes are accidents and even if it is, if there’s victims, then someone is still to blame. I really liked how they handled both the ‘victim’s’ humanity and anger, and the ‘villain’s’ guilt and listlessness.

4th story-⭐️⭐️
I just found this one hard to read. It was still good, I think I’m just really not okay with the n word. Though it definitely had a purpose in the story, which was basically the beginnings of a kid learning to question his fathers racism.

6th story-⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
In the time I get.
Good message, I wish more people could take this view. I liked the setting and characters.
Profile Image for Aly Kennedy.
69 reviews
March 26, 2017
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 most the stories, it is just mentioned or a sport is just part of who a character is and how they cope with a problem they are working through, which I think made their stories more believable and relatable. I can definitely see "jock" type high school boys enjoying these stories, but not necessarily reluctant readers who are into sports. I always feel like teachers and librarians try to accommodate sport-motivated boys rather than reading motivated with books about sports. This book is not for that sort of boy. The reading level is a little difficult for reluctant readers and some of the older references will go over their heads (some of them went over my head!).
Profile Image for Kim Rumrey.
29 reviews
May 5, 2017
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 isn't the most defining characteristic in any of them, instead they are all really about the relationships in our lives. Father-son, male-female competitors, popular-unpopular are all scenarios explored in this book and there is a lot of emotion and enlightenment that happens as well. This should be a great draw for drama loving teen readers.
December 11, 2018
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 young adults are as big as Angus, or have two sets of gay parents like Angus does, it is possible to sympathize with him. Many adolescents are not comfortable in their own skin, and feel they have reasons to be embarrassed of their parents or their family, and that's what makes Angus' story so relatable and funny.
Profile Image for Sharon Cote.
433 reviews
April 17, 2021
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 made me feel all the feels.
I read the print version maybe 10 years ago, which was also great of course, and I must say this particular narrator was excellent.
Profile Image for Sean S.
445 reviews1 follower
July 6, 2019
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 some of his other work.
Profile Image for Jackson.
Author 2 books81 followers
March 1, 2018
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.
1 review15 followers
November 1, 2019
-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.
Profile Image for Sophia Barsuhn.
429 reviews6 followers
January 29, 2022
In some ways this book has not aged well, especially in the first story where homosexuality is treated as something completely weird and abnormal. Yes, I realize that's because of who Angus is and it's played for laughs and stuff, but maybe I'm just a way-too-sensitive lesbian. Other than that, I liked these stories. There were parts that made me laugh out loud. Chris Crutcher is a pretty good author.
44 reviews
July 23, 2022
This is a collection of six short stories. Five out of the six stories deal with sport-hence the title. Each story deals with various issues such as parental issues, bullying, and dealing with one's past. Don't be fooled by the title, this book deals with so much more than sports or athletics. There are a lot of personal issues that are discussed. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to look a little deeper at important issues.
January 18, 2018
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.
5 reviews
October 1, 2018
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.
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352 reviews2 followers
January 25, 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 you understood what was happening despite the fact that I've only jogged and played basketball!

All in all a good read and I'll be on the lookout for more books from him.
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