Saturday, October 1, 2022

Review of "Go, Team, Go!," by John R. Tunis

 Review of

Go, Team, Go!, by John R. Tunis ISBN 9780688092863

Five out of five stars

Great lesson about the character of sports

When I was in middle school, I read every sports fiction book in the Harding Middle School and Hiawatha public libraries. This was one of my favorites and I enjoyed it just as much when I read it again. There is a lesson in this book that transcends sports, which is something that Tunis does as well as anyone.
The high school basketball team of Ridgewood, Indiana has won the state title and the players are on top of the world. However, this is a town that has its’ problems. There is a great deal of gambling going on and many citizens are betting that the team will win the state title the following year. All of the starters are back, so it seems like a good bet. Unfortunately, the team members start to believe that the rules do not apply to them. These beliefs are buoyed by the majority of the people in the town, who feed their egos. When the only real bad apple among the varsity players is disciplined, the remaining four players resign.
Rather than back down, the coach stands firm and plays his B team. At first they get shelled, but gradually they form a cohesive unit. When the school holds a pep rally in support of the new team, they catch fire and start to win.
The story is told from the perspective of Little Tom, son of the mayor and a member of the original varsity. He spends a great deal of the story feeling sorry for himself and making excuses for his bad behavior. Finally, to his credit, he goes to the coach and offers to help with the team. The coach readily accepts the help and together they coach their team deep into the state tournament. Since he was man enough to admit his mistake, his girlfriend takes him back and he rises above what he was to become a man proud of himself once again.
This story is a reminder of what seems to be lacking in sports these days, a concern for the character of the players that rises above concerns for winning. While winning is always desirable, how you play the game will almost always matter more in the long run. Tunis writes those points as well as anyone ever has, which is why I admire him so much as a writer. He teaches a very valuable lesson about life by wrapping it up in the thrill of sports.

No comments:

Post a Comment