Monday, December 23, 2019

Review of "Travel Team: Out of Control," by Rick Jasper

Review of

Travel Team: Out of Control, by Rick Jasper ISBN 9780761383239

Three out of five stars

 As an adult that coached youth sports over 10 seasons and three different sports and both genders, I have experienced the rabid parent phenomenon many times. Once, when I was forced to referee a soccer game a parent came screaming onto the field over a call that I did not make. The girl had tripped over her own feet, something that was clear to me from six feet away, but impossible to discern from the sidelines. I gave up the coaching/refereeing when I received an email invitation from the parent soccer organization to attend a workshop on how to deal with being physically assaulted by a parent.

 Carlos “Trip” Costas is a talented shortstop on the Las Vegas Roadrunners baseball team and his father Julio is a former professional baseball aspirant and a celebrity musician with significant wealth. Trip’s mother is several wives ago in Julio’s life, so Trip’s only parent present is his father. The problem is that Julio is overbearing in his pressure on Trip, even to the point that he goes out on the field during a game.

 The situation reaches a head when Trip decides that baseball is not fun anymore and asks the coach to bench him. Julio is a major financial backer of the team and there are significant expenses when they travel to tournaments. Julio threatens to pull his financial support if the coach does not pressure Trip to play.

 There is a climactic point where Trip stays at the house of a female friend rather than go home. Ultimately, there is a confrontation between Julio, Trip and the management of the Roadrunners. It is resolved and there is a big game at the end.

 Older books of adolescent sports fiction largely left all non-relative females out of the lives of the teenage male stars. Jasper is quite the opposite in that he has females being the best friends and confidants of his male stars. That is a positive aspect, but the story has so many negative aspects of the parent-child relationship that it has a sour feel to it. None of the other adults in the story ever stand up to Julio, telling him to tone it down or asking him to leave the field.

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