CM . . . .
Volume VII Number 19 . . . . May 25, 2001
"David focused his attention on Coach Prescott. If he listened carefully, he could just make out what the man was saying. Sandy was getting a steady patter from the coach. And Sandy's confidence grew.David and his friend Patrick are thrilled at first with their new soccer coach. His friendly manner and the fact that he used to play professionally in England impresses the whole team. But admiration turns to dismay when this first-time coach divides the team into two and spends all his time with his first string players. The other half of the team, who soon name themselves the Rejects, spend their practice time doing repetitive drills that the coach sets for them. They finally resort to organizing their own scrimmages, ignored by Coach Prescott. Additional frustrations stem from the poor coaching. The Rejects do not get the same playing time as the rest of the boys. Even though the Hornets are winning games, victory has no taste of sweetness for the boys who are not allowed to do their part for the team.
A subplot involves David's home life. New tensions surface at home when David's grandfather is forced to move in with David and his mother because of health concerns. A difficult period of adjustment follows as the independent old man must accept his new situation. David can hardly recognize the grouchy old man as the grandfather that he used to love to visit.
Personality conflicts make up a greater share of the story than the sports action. This is a story about the politics of playing on a team - told from the child's point of view. David's and his friends' sense of fair play is violated by the adult in trust on the team. At issue is the powerlessness of children to deal with an adult in authority. Resolutions to the problems are not conclusive but realistically leave room for the reader to consider possible outcomes.
Helen Arkos is teacher-librarian at John Pritchard, a K-S1 (Grade 9) school in Winnipeg, MB.
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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.