Thursday, February 27, 2020

Review of "Off The Rim," by Fred Bowen

Review of

Off The Rim, by Fred Bowen ISBN 9781561455096

Five out of five stars

 As a lifelong resident of Iowa, I was pleased to read the references to the old-style 6-on-6 girls high school basketball format. For years, the girls state tournament in Iowa was more popular than the boys, the girls tournament games were broadcast on radio and television across the state. One very unusual item of sports trivia is mentioned in the appendix. Denise Long was a star player for Union-Whitten high school in Iowa in the late sixties and was even drafted by the San Francisco Warriors of the NBA, although she never played for them.

 The star of this book is a boy named Chris and when the basketball season opens, he is riding the bench and his place is on the very end, one of the last to be put in the game. Greta is the star of the girls team and while she tries to help Chris perfect his shot, it seems clear that he will never be a top shooter. Greta’s mom played in the 6-on-6 leagues, where there were three that played offense only and three that stayed on defense. Her mom was a defensive player and a good one, so she starts giving Chris lessons on how to play quality defense.

 Chris proves to be a good student and it is not long before the coach realizes that Chris is the best defender on the team and relies on him to stop the other teams best offensive player. The team improves dramatically and is challenging a team with a top offensive player.

 What makes this a very good book is the lesson that not all players are going to be big scorers, there will always be a need for good defensive players and rebounders. Bowen also takes a different approach in his stories; he doesn’t find it necessary for his principal characters to make the last-second play(s) that win the game.

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