Book Review- 'My Losing Season'
Writers compose fiction with drama, causing the reader to be late for work, dinner, or play. Ironically, authors feel driven to write an autobiography, and usually it will put the reader into a coma. However, Pat Conroy writes of his college days with a sharp pen that cuts peoples' lives, even his own, to the bones, bleeding across all 400 pages.
The story is about NCAA basketball, college, the Citadel, and military life. However, woven throughout is Conroy exposing his struggles with a father who abused him both verbally and physically. Never in Conroy's youth did his father speak a positive word. Before his season as a high school senior, he had this conversation with his dad:
"Hey, Jocko. Want to hear my prediction about you and your team?" Dad said.
"One game below five hundred," he said. "I don't think you'll win half your games. You've got no height. No big guys to get you the ball under the boards. The league's going to be gunning for you this year,son. I don't think you'll do well under the spotlight. You scored over eighteen a game last year. The other teams make adjustments and I say you score less than ten a game this year."
"I bet not a single college scout comes to watch you play," he said. I think my baby boy's going to wilt under all the pressure."
"I hope not."
"You're a loser, son..."
His college coach didn't do much better. The military, parents and coaches were tough in the sixties, but these were off the charts.
Yet Conroy sometimes excels at the game, and a few other players do too, but the team lacks chemistry. Yet the victories are sweet.
While Conroy was an above average ball player, he is an excellent writer.
The next excerpt takes place after a four overtime victory over rival VMI, with Pat sinking the winning shots:
"Then my team and the Corps engulfed me and they lifted me into the air and into the pure exultancy of that triumphal, ecstatic march to the locker room where I looked down at the faces of my teammates who looked happier than I had ever seen them. Cadets leapt into the air to touch me, maddened to be part of this one delirious moment in the history of my college."
Excellent book. I highly recommend it, and you need not be a basketball fan to enjoy it.