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New York Times bestselling author Kostya Kennedy sets this captivating, character-rich story against the back-drop of one of the most pressing questions in sports: Should we let our sons play football? At the high end of America’s most popular game is the glittering NFL, a fan-stoked money machine and also an opaque enterprise under scrutiny for the physical dangers imposed on its players. Then there’s high school football, unrivaled for the crucial life lessons it imparts-discipline, leadership, cooperation, humility, perseverance-yet also a brain-rattling, bone-breaking game whose consequences are at best misunderstood, and, at the very worst, deadly. What is the parent of a young athlete to make of that? The New Rochelle High School team in suburban New York is like many across the country: a source of civic pride, a manhood workshop for a revered coach and an emotional proving ground for boys of widely different backgrounds. In the fall of 2014, New Rochelle’s season unfolded alongside watershed NFL head injury revelations and domestic abuse cases (remember Ray Rice?), as well as fatalities on nearby fields. The dramatic story of that season, for players, parents and coaches, underscores fundamental questions. Are football’s inherent risks so great that the sport may not survive as we know it? Or are those risks worth the rewards that the game continues to bestow, and that can stay with a young man for a lifetime?
Nestled amid cotton, pine, and swamps, the Deep South outpost of Valdosta, Georgia, has long drawn pilgrims from across the country to the home of the Wildcats, the winningest high school football team in America. Christened by national media as "Title Town, USA," Valdosta has thrived on the continuity of dominance: sons still play in front of fathers and grandfathers, creased men in pickups still offer steak dinners as a reward for gridiron glory, and Friday nights in the 11,000-seat stadium known as Death Valley still hold a central role in the town's social fabric. Now that place is in peril. As much as Valdosta is a romantic symbol of traditional American values, things are changing here just as they are in small towns everywhere. In Must Win, author Drew Jubera goes inside the country's most famous high school football team to chronicle its dramatic 2010 season, a quest by a program that's down but not out to regain past glory for both the team and the town it represents. This town, this school, and these people have been rocked by forces that have hit the entire country, but they're a long way from giving up. They still believe in the power of a game to overcome all. With a new coach, a new optimism, and a kaleidoscopic cast that includes an aspiring rapper, a beekeeper's son, the best athlete in the state, and the heir to a pro legacy cut short by a crack dealer's bullet, these Wildcats have been given one more chance. Must Win is the American story written across a bright green playing field.
This book details the importance of high school athletics to the student athletes, beyond just the sports experience itself. It argues that the lessons learned, tools acquired, and values instilled have an enduring impact and prepare young athletes for the challenges they will face in life after their formal education is complete.
Take a trip through sports history through the eyes of those covering the biggest events of all time. In I Was There! seventy of the biggest names in sports broadcasting and journalism share their personal experiences at the top five sports moments they each saw in person. From cultural phenomena like the Super Bowl, World Series, and Olympics to less-well-known sports and games, the people who brought you these moments on television and radio or wrote the stories you read in the newspaper or online give you a firsthand look at what made these events so special. Join such legends of the business as Marv Albert, Joe Buck, Bob Costas, Jim Nantz, Bob Ryan, and Dick Stockton as they tell their stories from these indelible moments and explain why their five moments stand above all of the others they have seen, and find out why each of them are proud to say "I Was There!"
In the early twentieth century, down the Ohio River from Pittsburgh, the Jones & Laughlin Steel Company built one of the largest mills in the world and a town to go with it. Aliquippa was a beacon and a melting pot, pulling in thousands of families from Europe and the Jim Crow south. The J&L mill, though dirty and dangerous, offered a chance at a better life. It produced the steel that built American cities and won World War II and even became something of a workers’ paradise. But then, in the 1980’s, the steel industry cratered. The mill closed. Crime rose and crack hit big. But another industry grew in Aliquippa. The town didn’t just make steel; it made elite football players, from Mike Ditka to Ty Law to Darrelle Revis. Pro football was born in Western Pennsylvania, and few places churned out talent like Aliquippa. Despite its troubles—maybe even because of them—Aliquippa became legendary for producing football greatness. A masterpiece of narrative journalism, Playing Through the Whistle tells the remarkable story of Aliquippa and through it, the larger history of American industry, sports, and life. Like football, it will make you marvel, wince, cry, and cheer.
Draws on interviews, e-mails, and previously undisclosed documents to reveal how the NFL has endeavored to cover up evidence of the connection between football and brain damage for the past two decades.
Thomas documents the lives, struggles, and triumphs of the players and coaches of Faith Christian School in Grapevine, Texas, following the team for a full season to record a story that is sure to inspire readers to understand that relationships are more important than winning.

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