Kristen's Reviews > Don't Put Me In, Coach: My Incredible NCAA Journey from the End of the Bench to the End of the Bench

Don't Put Me In, Coach by Mark Titus
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's review
Dec 04, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: contemporary, humor, memoir
Read in December, 2011

I've been going back and forth between three stars and four for this very funny book - three stars for me, because while I liked Don't I didn't really like it, which is the criterion for four stars. However, that's me, a woman who NEVER watches basketball and am beyond Titus's demographic as well.

I gave it four stars because I realized just how many people I'd recommend it to - I can't figure out which of several basketball-loving family and friends to pass it along to. It's hilarious, a great behind-the-curtains look at sports; and a welcome relief from the zeitgeist of over-the-top admiration, respect, and pay for entertainers -- and their tedious books on why they deserved to reach the top.

Titus writes that although he does have a competitive side, basically he "just want[ed] to be good enough to make it consistently fun."

What comes through is a smart, smart-ass guy who must have been the catch of his high school (he was the quarterback of the football team and the best basketball player on the school team). His dad was a coach, and he was also in club basketball in middle school, a 6 foot 2 kid playing on the best AAU team ever assembled. He was the only white boy on that team, and gets into race issues just a bit, again with humor, and he also talks about coming to grips with the fact that he wasn't going to play pro basketball.

Now think of the time in your life when you realized that what you had always wanted to be was an impossibility. Maybe it was when you figured out that you'd almost certainly never get to be the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire because it sadly doesn't exist anymore. Or maybe it was when you decided that being a doctor involved way too much school for your liking and/or you weren't smart enough. Or, more likely, you realized that you couldn't be a carnie because you didn't smell like a combination of meth and stale cotton candy, you didn't have a balding mullet, and you weren't missing over half of your teeth...

After my sophomore year at Ohio State, I had my realization. No matter how much I had wanted to be a Big Ten basketball star, it was never going to happen. Some would say this made me a failure, but that's an incorrect assessment because before my career was over and my window of opportunity closed, I changed my goal so I wouldn't technically fail. (It's a very popular strategy among us underachievers.) Out was my dream of being a star college basketball player and in its place was my new dream of simply making the most of the cards I was dealt and having as much fun as I possibly could for my last two years of college...

This is definitely not the book to offer up to an idealistic sixth grader who has his or her whole life ahead of them. It's rather a book for the rest of us, who have a lot of our life behind us, and are never going to be star basketball players, ballerinas, or even president. Titus shows how to get over it. Funny, funny stuff unless you're too liable to cringe at adolescent grossness.

This was a firstreads win for me -- and also either for Danny, Kira, Josh or Jack, one of whom will get it soon.

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