Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Review of "Basketball Comes to North Island," by O. B. Jackson

Review of
Basketball Comes to North Island, by O. B. Jackson

Five out of five stars
 This book of adolescent sports fiction is based on the right balance between the emotional angst experienced by people in their mid-teens and their actions in playing their games. Peenie Marsh is in junior high and one of the better players on their basketball team. The season is about to start and there is a great deal of excitement, for the school is getting a brand-new gym and there is a lot of optimism regarding the quality of the team.
 However, problems of unity and lack of teamwork surface and the team has spells where they seemingly cannot do anything right, either on offense or defense. Peenie’s relationship with his best friend Jack also suffers, for there are team members that openly state that they believe Peenie favors passing the ball to Jack. The team stumbles until Peenie has a talk with the coach and is told that someone needs to be in charge on the court, calling out the tactics and making the decisions that need to be done in a split second. Far too fast for a coach on the sidelines to make them.
 When Peenie finally takes charge, an action that requires some physical confrontation, the team gels and they find themselves playing at a high level and winning. Unlike many other books in this genre, there are girl characters, although they are generally relegated to cheerleading roles.
 This is a story that every boy that went out for basketball in junior high (middle school) can relate to. For there will always be boys that feel compelled to dominate the action, demanding the ball be passed to them and never giving it up when it is in their hands. Coaches are often limited in what they can do short of benching. As is the case in this book, it is often up to the players to work it out and learn to play for the team rather than for themselves. A very important lesson if you want to be successful on the court and in life.

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