CM . . . .
Volume VI Number 21 . . . . June 23, 2000
"Glen's turn at the plate had made him feel even more confident. All the hard work at the batting cages over the winter had been well worth it. Glen stepped out of the batter's box, removed his helmet, and ran his fingers through his blond hair. He glanced over at the tennis courts and saw that four girls from school had finished their game and were watching the practice. They smiled as Glen looked over, and he smiled back. He didn't know Emiko or Sarah very well, but he knew Colleen, Ryan's sister, and her best friend, Maria. Glen was conscious of the girls watching them as the boys spread out on the diamond, running a drill. The coach explained the basics: the object was to work as quickly as possible, keeping the throws accurate."When Glen, 11-years-old, makes pitcher for the neighborhood team in Little League, he can scarcely believe it, and he is determined to be the best pitcher in the league. But he alienates his friends, family and teammates by being overly critical of the others, constantly demanding that the boys try harder to live up to his expectations. Soon the other players begin to shun Glen. His temper gets the best of him, and the coach makes him sit out an important game. At the same time, his home life is not happy. His mother and new stepfather try to help Glen, but he resents the breakup of his parents' marriage, desperately hoping that his father, who now lives in California, will come back to Toronto to visit him to see what a good ball player he is. But his father's work interferes, and the promise to visit is broken. Glen takes out his anger and frustration on his best friend and his team.
Being forced to sit out the game and receiving some wise words of advice from his best friend help Glen to understand that he has been a negative influence with his constant criticism and drive for perfection. At the championship game, he changes his attitude and helps his team triumph over the opposition. He is even able to congratulate his friend for winning the MVP award, an award he wanted for himself.
The story is told from Glen's viewpoint. The authors bring the excitement of the ball game into the story with their vivid description of the fast paced action. Young ballplayers will be able to see themselves as heroes in such a game. The authors very obviously work multiculturalism into the story with their choice of names for the boys playing ball - Kamal, Miguel, Ravi, Nakamura, Apidopolous, Wong, etc. The boys show a fine indifference to ethnic backgrounds, saving their dislike and anger for poor sportsmanship, not skin colour. The loss of a parent through divorce and the difficulty of adjusting to a step family are dealt with very evenly and with sympathy. Readers, caught up in the action of the Little League, will probably not even notice the moral lessons they are absorbing.
Luella Sumner is the librarian at Red Rock Public Library in Red Rock, ON.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.