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Athletic Shorts

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  2,099 Ratings  ·  221 Reviews
These six powerful short stories chronicle bits of the lives of characters, major and minor, who have walked the rugged terrain of Chris Crutcher's earlier works. They also introduce some new and unforgettable personalities who may well be heard from again in future books. As with all Crutcher's work, these are stories about athletes, and yet they are not sport stories. Th ...more
Hardcover, First Edition, 154 pages
Published October 23rd 1991 by Greenwillow Books (first published January 1st 1991)
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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
*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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Nikki Hoskin
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
Aly Kennedy
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Rylee Gardner Dunkin
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.
Ashley Colleen
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Logan Culbertson
Really good, some deep moments, good to read with a group.
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Powerful stories worth reading.
Nov 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teens
Recommended to Frances by: ms. rogal
I am reviewing the book Athletic Shorts’ “A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune”, by Chris Crutcher; I think Crutcher’s purpose in writing this book was to have a few short stories that are like his other books. He also states, that in his other books he lets the reader choose how the story ends. The short stories in this book are about people and what happened to them before or after the book was written. I think the Crutcher’s intended audience is teenagers and the feelings of kids who d ...more
Sep 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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Have you ever wanted to relate to someone or something? If you are athletic, a teenager, or an athletic teenager, then the chances are you might relate to one of these awesome short stories in “Athletic Shorts” by Chris Crutcher. Each of these fun exciting shorts tell a story with a different theme and moral. Among these many morals young boys Angus, Johnny, Petey, Lionel, Jack, and Louie have to overcome many feats. These include embarrassing familie
Apr 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
I didn't read this when I was growing up, I'm not even sure if I ever saw a Chris Crutcher book before I did a Banned Books display at work in college. I'm sure I did, but all I'm conjuring up are Matt Christopher books (which I avoided like the plague) and hearing the occasional oral report in class from a 'sports' book, which instantly made me turn off my attention.

By the way, how do elementary school teachers do it? If I had to listen to 20 summarized plots of books from R.L. Stine, Judy Blum
Elizabeth Harty
Sep 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Athletic Shorts • Six Short Stories

How much can one person struggle? In the compelling novel by Chris Crutcher, Athletic Shorts tells six different stories about six different struggling teens. Johnny, Angus, Lion, Petey, “Telephone man”, and Louie all have their own difficult life stories. Although none of the boys’ lives intertwine, they all have one thing in common; they need help. As they investigate the hardships of life, the boys struggle to find out who they are and what they stand for.
This collection of short stories are often found on the ALA challenged book list. It has been challenged because it has a story that has an 18 year old boy befriending a man with AIDS, because it discusses homosexuality and because of its language. Chris Crutcher, though, is an expert at what he does-writing about reality. He said, "They think kids should not be exposed in print to what they are exposed in their lives. But I believe what I believe, so I write my stories." (Crutcher even has a wh ...more
Sep 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Imagine if you had to make a decision between two things, and both could ruin your life. Athletic Shorts is an inspiring fiction book written by Chris Crutcher, and it tells the stories of six different athletes and their personal struggles. Out of the six stories, the most affecting one in the collection is one called “A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune.”This story is about a boy named Angus (the narrator) who is an overweight high school football player who struggles with social accep ...more
Sep 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The book Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher is jam packed with six short stories of athletes’ lives filled with tragedy, comedy, and the challenges of being a teenager, each of them leaves you wanting more. They all take place in different places, but they all seem the same. All of the stories are about teenagers going through their early struggles. All of them take place in small towns where sports are everything. I have chosen my favorite one to go into depth about. Although it was a very hard
Matt Klingbeil
The book Athletic Shorts: Six Short Stories by Chris Crutcher is a non-fictional young adult book. The book consists of six short stories, each about a different person. The people from the short stories were actually characters from Crutcher's previous books. Crutcher decided to write these short stories after many people continued to ask him about the previous characters.

The setting of this book is all over the place, as it is six different short stories with different characters. In the fi
Mar 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Athletic Shorts a compilation of short stories by Chris Crutcher addresses a slew of difficult topics from being an obese teen, to father and son relationships, even what to do when faced with wrestling a girl! Each character is a complex realistic person with all the typical teen problems in their own ways.
In “A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune” an overweight teen struggles with unpleasant peers at the school dance partly because both his parents are in happy homosexual relationships.
David Paul
Aug 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Athletic Shorts” by Chris Crutcher is a collection of six different stories that tell of how a certain sport affects the characters of each of the short stories. Each character’s situation deals with a topic that is hard to talk about. Whether it’s racism, sexual orientation or another difficult topic, Chris Crutcher tackles the issue.
In the first chapter, Angus Bethune deals with a lot of stereotypes in his life. First off, he is a little overweight and is quite often picked on for that. To t
Jan 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edutl
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 26, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-stuff
This great collection of short stories follows up on characters that author Chris Crutcher introduced in other works, some major characters and some supporting characters. I’ve often wished that authors would expand on an interesting character that only played a bit part in the book! What a good idea, especially if the reader of the original story is a reluctant one. These stories ranged from funny to touching to disturbing, and covered a lot of issues that are relevant to teens. Racism, violenc ...more
Molly Duerré
I found "A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune" to be a good example of how to write a short story well. Although I found the story itself to be pretty average in terms of originality, I enjoyed it in terms of the writing. For teens and young adults experiencing issues with self-esteem and body image, I think that this story is highly relatable. I found the male's perspective to be refreshing; we generally only get to read about issues with body image from the female point of view. Angus, ...more
Lauren Kramer
These six short stories brought to life what outside things can affect an athlete's performance. What sounded like a book of pure sports stories ended up revealing background stories and troubles that occur outside of the field or court. There were 5 characters that the reader followed: Angus, Johnny, Lionel, Jack, and Louie. These character struggle through family and friend issues, abuse, death, and many other reasons. Towards the end of their stories, a sense of pride and growth is developed ...more
Kate Sherry
"A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune" is such a fun way to remember how emotionally charged high school can be. There are real problems and some not so real problems all mashing together to create...confusion. This story, however, takes the confusion out of the story. It is simply getting to follow the "fat kid" through some scenarios. Whether you were the "fat kid" or the "popular kid" or the "athletic kid" or whatever kind of kid you were, I would guess that you can relate to this stor ...more
Feb 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Athletic Shorts is a collection of short stories by Chris Crutcher. All but one of the stories features characters from a previous Crutcher book. In “A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune,” Angus struggles with fitting in at school while being overweight and having two sets of gay parents. He is elected Winter Ball King as a joke, he has to dance with the love of his life, Melissa LeFevre and deal with her obnoxious boyfriend. In “The Pin,” Johnny and his disciplinarian father compete agai ...more
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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
More about Chris Crutcher...
“When you're different, on the down side, you learn to live from one scarce rich moment to the next, no matter the distance between.” 2 likes
More quotes…