The Art of Persistence

AgainstAllOdds_hresGood Sports: Against All Odds
By Glenn Stout
(Sandpiper: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012, Boston, $5.99)

More than talent separates the best athletes from the merely good: perseverance has won many a championship. In Good Sports: Against All Odds, Glenn Stout offers five short biographies of players and teams who defied personal adversity and humiliating mistakes by playing their best. In some cases, their gutsy determination won them a trophy or a championship title; in others, a respectable defeat. But all the athletes Stout profiles – from 1920s college quarterback Roy Riegels to contemporary third baseman David Freese – faced embarrassment or even a career on the bench. They seized whatever chances fell their way and played as well and hard as they could – and for that, they could hold their heads high.

Glenn Stout’s collective middle-grade biography should inspire persistence and teamwork on and off the field. In addition to celebrating the athletes’ commitment to their teammates, Stout explores various facets of the sports themselves, educating middle-grade readers about the games they may already play and love. Like the best sports journalists, Stout captures the excitement of the game, especially the tension when only a few minutes remain in the contest and the outcome is still undecided. He seamlessly weaves his subjects’ individual struggles with his accounts of the key games in their careers. Readers of all ages will find themselves routing for his underdog heroes.

-Dorothy A. Dahm


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