Saturday, August 26, 2017

Review of "Hoop"

While I normally don't share my lack of athletic ability here and instead read about those who do have wonderful skills, there was a time where I played a lot of basketball and I was able to at least compete at a good level.  For those like me who have ever played the game, this book will either bring back a lot of memories or at least explain why so many of us loved this sport.  Here is my review of "Hoop."

Hoop: A Basketball Life in Ninety-five Essays” by Brian Doyle
Basketball, amateur, short stories, memoir
Publish date:
October 1, 2017

240 pages

5 of 5 stars (outstanding)
Brian Doyle could be considered a hoops junkie. While he never played the game as a college or professional player, he has a deep and profound love for the sport. That is clearly evident in this wonderful book of 95 essays all dedicated to the game he loves.

The book covers a wide swath of topics related to the game.  Doyle writes about coaches in the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) leagues and his own days of playing CYO basketball.  He writes about drills like the weave. He, like many others, feels it is a waste of time – how often will a team actually run the weave during a game?  Answer: none.  Also mentioned is the drill every player dreads – suicide sprints (aka wind sprints).  For those who don’t know what they are, read about them in the book. For those who ever played the game and ran them, the dreaded memories will come back.

There is so much more covered about basketball.  The nets on the baskets, the type of court that one plays on, the shorts and sneakers worn, the best player he ever played against, the kid who knew he wouldn’t make the high school team, but played very well in the last practice before cuts – they are all covered in the book along with so many other aspects of the game.

Doyle’s writing on the game drew me in like how a shooter on a hot streak draws defenders.  The more I read, the more I wanted to keep going.  Just as that shooter should be fed the ball as often as possible (another topic of one of the essays) the reader should keep going on with this book until finished. 

Readers who have ever played the game, no matter the skill level or how long he or she laced ‘em up, will want to read this book for the memories and to gain a newfound love for the game itself.  For readers who have never played, but often wonder what draws people to the sport, these essays will tell that in a beautiful manner.

I wish to thank University of Georgia Press for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Format Read:
E-book (Kindle)

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