Sunday, February 9, 2014

Travel Team, by Mike Lupica

Travel Team is an underdog story about Danny Walker, the shortest twelve-year old in Middletown.  Danny is a gifted basketball player, but he’s got some big shoes to fill.  His absentee father is a former pro ballplayer who might be best known for taking the local youth league to the national championships.  Danny’s family situation is interesting enough, but the real story begins when Danny fails to make the town’s “travel team” of top ballplayers when the coach thinks that he’s just too short to compete.

When Danny starts to think about taking a year off from basketball, his dad steps back into the picture and offers to start up an alternative ball team.  He and Danny then set about assembling an unlikely team made up of Danny, a few other misfit kids, and even the unthinkable….a girl!  After a series of losses, it quickly becomes clear that this team will never win an actual game.  Until, all of a sudden, they actually do!

I don’t want to give away too much of this book, because it’s worth reading for yourself.  It reminded me of all of Matt Christopher’s books that my classmates and I used to race through.  So many kids like to play sports, even though only a very small percentage will grow up to play professionally.  There’s so much that young people can learn from sports, and one of the most important things they can learn is how to lose well.

But what do you think?  Have you ever played on a sports team?  If so, what was something that you learned from your experience?      

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