MEAC/SWAC SPORTS MAIN STREET: May 2021
<p> That is what makes this book an outstanding account of these people – interesting stories, information that is not well-known and proper credit for what these athletes contributed to both sports and society. The other reason I wanted to review it is that I enjoy reading S.L.Price in Sports Illustrated, so getting the chance to review a book of his was something I wanted to do. One is to gear up for the winter games of basketball and hockey, and second is to catch back up on reading. 2016 was a terrific year in sports – the Chicago Cubs won their first championship in 108 years, the Cleveland Cavaliers brought their city a championship team in any sport for the first time in 52 years, and two American swimmers (Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky) became the most decorated Olympic athletes at the Rio games. No matter which sport is the subject, I am becoming drawn to books about how sports played a part in racial issues, whether they are integration matters or breaking certain barriers. Instead, it is one of the most realistic books a reader will find on the lives of the residents of one of the most resilient towns in the nation.</p>
<p> Also, on a personal note, 2016 was a terrific year for this blog and myself, with more and more of you coming over to take a look at the reviews, offer books and other kind words. I used Title Sports Gymnastics (blue stars side) for a great framed look. A two-star recruit according to 247 Sports, Purdie helped lead New Bern to the North Carolina state 4A title as a junior, logging 143 tackles, 20 for loss, and 10 sacks as a linebacker that season. The Wildcats earned a share of the football title and finished first in Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field. The football team was not a winner every year that is written, a reflection of the ups and downs of the mood of the town. It was also a year of sadness, as we lost many in the sports world, including Muhammad Ali, Gordie Howe, and Arnold Palmer, three of the greatest at their games. Gretzky has stated many times, and it is repeated more than once in the book, that his most cherished record came during the 1981-82 season when he scored 50 goals in the first 39 games of the season. This book is better classified as a history book, as it describes the successes and failures of the town through the steel industry and the high school football team.</p>
<p> The record he set during that season is the subject of this terrific book on that accomplishment. However, there was one record that held dear to his heart and that record is the subject of this game-by-game account for setting that record. That may not apply to the record that is the subject of this book, as Wayne Gretzky scored goals at an unbelievable pace in the 1981-82 season. Dater also injects personal notes into the book, including a passage on how he became a sports writer. However, this is not to shortchange the bulk of the book, which is a game-by-game account of the Edmonton Oilers’ first 39 games of the 1981-82 season. They were the best two teams in hockey at that time, winning four Stanley Cups between them and facing off in some memorable games in both the regular season and the Stanley Cup playoffs. From morning to night, stay with RVA Sports Network for Teal/Aqua comprehensive coverage of high school football as the road to the playoffs heats up on this first Friday of October! Coverage of the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs begins tomorrow night with Conference Quarterfinal action at 8 p.m.</p>
<p> Fans take inventory in the early hours of the morning and realize they were treated to a great sports night just hours earlier. The two previously mentioned, Roy and Bowman, make for good information to readers who may not be familiar with their stories, but hardcore fans may be left disappointed with the lack of depth. The section on the history of this hallowed record was a very good table setter for the rest of the book and was my favorite section. This rivalry is captured in this book by Denver sports writer Adam Dater. Dater covers these seasons fully, especially the Stanley Cup playoffs, mainly through stories about the teams in the major newspapers of the two cities. Since Dater is a Denver resident, there is a slant toward the Avalanche, but overall the writing is fair to both teams and also fair in overall quality. Most of the original material is not new insight into the rivalry but instead on short biographies on players and coaches for both teams. Because of the quality of the teams and the rivalry between them, I did finish this book and enjoyed reliving that era of hockey. In fact, the book illustrates the struggles of the town’s residents as some wanted to escape the hard gritty life of the steel mill.</p>
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