Tag Archives: Hoosiers

Another Rookie

The Long Snapper by Jeffrey Marx (Harper One, $24.99, 245 pages)

The Long Snapper would be a charming true story except that we’ve read and seen it before.   In the book and film version of The Rookie (Dennis Quaid starred in the movie), we were told the true story of Jim Morris, a professional baseball player who becomes a school teacher when his athletic career is over.   Years pass before he’s suddenly contacted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who want him to try out for a pitching opening.   He’s undecided but his students encourage him to take the try-out, and this “rookie” returns to “the Show.”

Take the exact same story and substitute the football player Brian Kitchen for Morris and you have The Long Snapper.   Kinchen played pro football for 12 years before losing his job and becoming a school teacher.   Two years pass and then guess what?   Oh, yes, the same thing that happened in The Rookie.   Except that Kinchen is invited to try out for a team that’s two wins away from the Super Bowl.

You can probably guess what the ending is going to be.   Does our hero come through in the Big Game?   The climax will only surprise those who haven’t seen Hoosiers, The Bad News Bears, Invincible or Remember the Titans.

Reprinted courtesy of Sacramento Book Review.

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I’ll Be Doggone: A Review of Dogged Pursuit by Robert Rodi

This is an enjoyable and lighweight summer read.   It’s the “tail” of a man who adopts a scruffy Sheltie dog from a rescue pound with the hope of turning him into a pro dog circuit champion.   On the plus side, author Rodi is at his best when describing his love and admiration for the dog, Dusty.   Dusty is far from a natural athlete.   So, despite the reader’s fervent hopes, this is not a story that winds up in a Hoosiers or Bad News Bears-style ending.

The author comes off as more than a bit pretentious – he “prefers fine wine and Italian literature (in Italian)” – in contrast to the life that most of us live.   But Dusty teaches him that life’s rewards are about the smallest of things:  “(When Dusty’s) plunging through the tire, the velocity streaking the fur on his face and splaying his cheeks into a smile…  he seems suddenly beautiful, suddenly graceful, suddenly powerful.   … I really love the little guy.”

The reader expects this book to be about the author and major changes in his life.   Instead, it’s about learning to accept the grace that a small furry creature can bring into our lives; nothing more and nothing less.

Hudson Street Press, $24.95, 273 pages.

This review was written by Joseph Arellano.   Reprinted courtesy of Sacramento Book Review.     dogged pursuit (large)

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