Freshman Quarterback, by Clair Bee
Five out of five stars
Bee was the author of a series of books starring sports sensation Chip Hilton and his sports buddies. The series takes them through high school and college, in this one they are in their first year at State College and the story opens with football practice for the freshman team before classes have started.
Chip and his friends learn very quickly that athletics at the major university level is overrun with politics. Wealthy boosters pay their money and expect to get their way, whether that is in access, players remaining eligible or influence in determining who plays. In this case, there is a group of freshman players heavily backed by wealthy people that are considered the first string and then Chip and his group that are relegated to the second level.
Even though Chip’s group completely outplays the first string, they find it difficult to break through. The freshman coaches know that the best tackle on campus is Chip’s friend Biggie Cohen and the best quarterback is Chip Hilton. However, their jobs have been threatened, so the coaches reluctantly accept their situation.
Through it all, Chip stays positive, putting out all effort on the practice field and even playing for the dorm team when he and his friends are cut from the freshman squad. Finally, the positive forces come together and Chip and his group are able to win the critical game at the end of the season.
This book was first published in 1952, when freshman were not eligible for the varsity and the rules of booster involvement in athletics were much more lax. Therefore, even though this book deals more with the undue influence in sports rather than the sports themselves, it is fiction based on fact. The modern reader may not be aware of these facts.
Through it all, Chip and his group continue to be model students and athletes, never acting out of line and semi-patiently waiting for the situation to turn in their favor. Chip facing and overcoming adversity is a primary theme of this series and that lesson is repeated here.