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1 Beaverton Sports and Fitness- Baseball General

One Shot at Forever: A Small Town, an Unlikely Coach, and a Magical Baseball Season

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One Shot at Forever: A Small Town, an Unlikely Coach, and a Magical Baseball Season Cover

ISBN13: 9781401324384
ISBN10: 140132438x
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The Inspirational Story of a Coach, a Baseball Team, and the Season They’ll Never Forget

In 1971, a small-town high school baseball team from rural Illinois playing with hand-me-down uniforms and peace signs on their hats defied convention and the odds. Led by an English teacher with no coaching experience, the Macon Ironmen emerged from a field of 370 teams to represent the smallest school in Illinois history to make the state final, a distinction that still stands. There, sporting long hair and warming up to Jesus Christ Superstar, the Ironmen would play a dramatic game against a Chicago powerhouse that would change their lives forever.

In this gripping, cinematic narrative, Sports Illustrated writer Chris Ballard tells the story of the team and its coach, Lynn Sweet, a hippie, dreamer, and intellectual who arrived in Macon in 1966, bringing progressive ideas to a town stuck in the Eisenhower era. Beloved by students but not administration, Sweet reluctantly took over the ragtag team, intent on teaching the boys as much about life as baseball. Inspired by Sweet’s unconventional methods, the undersized, undermanned Macon Ironmen embarked on an improbable postseason run that infuriated rival coaches and buoyed a town suffering from a damaging drought and the shadow of the Vietnam War—one in desperate need of something to celebrate.

In a final grace note, Ballard returns to the present day, revisiting the 1971 Ironmen to explore the effect the game had on their lives’ trajectories—and the men they’ve become because of it. Engaging and poignant, One Shot at Forever is a testament to the power of high school sports to shape the lives of those who play them, and it reminds us that there are few bonds more sacred than that among a coach, a team, and a town.

Praise for One Shot at Forever

"One Shot at Forever is tender, fun, bittersweet, with a great narrative that just motors. It also features the funkiest coach not just in the history of baseball but the history of sport—an unforgettable character in a beautiful and unforgettable book."

––Buzz Bissinger, author of Father's Day and Friday Night Lights

"There's a reason Chris Ballard has emerged as one of America's top sports writers. One Shot at Forever is powerful, inspirational and—in an era where sports are too often marred by scandal—as pure and true as a warm spring breeze. This isn't merely a book about baseball. It's a book about heart."

––Jeff Pearlman, New York Times bestselling author of Boys Will Be Boys and The Bad Guys Won

"This book is so well told by Chris Ballard that it gives sportswriting a good name."

––Frank Deford, author of Over Time: My Life As A Sportswriter

"Chris Ballard brings a big heart and a winning style to tell a memorable story of small-town Illinois. The boys of Macon renew our understanding of why baseball matters—and sometimes, why it matters too much."

––Cait Murphy, author of Crazy ‘08

"Chris Ballard finds the heart in the heartland, in this inspirational tale of a small-school ball club that reaches for glory."

––Edward Achorn, author of Fifty-nine in ’84

"[A] nonfiction gem about an underdog team that made good. This is the kind of baseball book that has long arms: YA readers, avid baseball fans, sports readers, and narrative nonfiction readers who like to be firmly set in a particular time and place should all find it joyful."

––Library Journal

"This story has obvious parallels to the classic basketball film Hoosiers and in Ballard’s capable hands evokes similar themes of inspiration, camaraderie and the pressure of the once-in-a-lifetime moments associated with prep athletics."

––Publishers Weekly

Review:

"A writer for Sports Illustrated, Ballard (The Art of the Beautiful Game) has expanded an article he wrote for the magazine about the 1971 Macon (Ill.) High School's baseball team's improbable run to the state finals. Coached by an eccentric outsider, a team of poor farm boys from a small, rural town take on the bigger and richer teams; this story has obvious parallels to the classic basketball film Hoosiers and in Ballard's capable hands evokes similar themes of inspiration, camaraderie and the pressure of the once-in-a-lifetime moments associated with prep athletics. By exploring the roots of the laid-back managing style of the team's coach, Lynn Sweet, a 'hippie' English teacher who allows his players to warm up to the soundtrack of Jesus Christ Superstar and wear peace signs on their hats, Ballard effortlessly captures the conflict between Eisenhower era beliefs and the changing cultural landscape in Vietnam-era America. But this is first and foremost a sports book, and the core is the dramatic state tournament games that are played out in such detail that it is as if you are sitting in the bleachers with nearly all of the 1,200 residents of Macon. Ballard holds the story of the team together with his conversational prose and boosts the story's poignancy with a touching conclusion that demonstrates the importance of high school sports and hometown heroes while asking, if not answering, the question of how much 'one game,' win or lose, can change a life. B&w photos. Agent: Robert Wilson. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

The Inspirational Story of a Coach, a Baseball Team, and the Season They'll Never Forget

In 1971, a small-town high school baseball team from rural Illinois playing with hand-me-down uniforms and peace signs on their hats defied convention and the odds. Led by an English teacher with no coaching experience, the Macon Ironmen emerged from a field of 370 teams to represent the smallest school in Illinois history to make the state final, a distinction that still stands. There, sporting long hair and warming up to Jesus Christ Superstar, the Ironmen would play a dramatic game against a Chicago powerhouse that would change their lives forever.

In this gripping, cinematic narrative, Sports Illustrated writer Chris Ballard tells the story of the team and its coach, Lynn Sweet, a hippie, dreamer, and intellectual who arrived in Macon in 1966, bringing progressive ideas to a town stuck in the Eisenhower era. Beloved by students but not administration, Sweet reluctantly took over the ragtag team, intent on teaching the boys as much about life as baseball. Inspired by Sweet's unconventional methods, the undersized, undermanned Macon Ironmen embarked on an improbable postseason run that infuriated rival coaches and buoyed a town suffering from a damaging drought and the shadow of the Vietnam War-one in desperate need of something to celebrate.

In a final grace note, Ballard returns to the present day, revisiting the 1971 Ironmen to explore the effect the game had on their lives' trajectories-and the men they've become because of it. Engaging and poignant, One Shot at Forever is a testament to the power of high school sports to shape the lives of those who play them, and it reminds us that there are few bonds more sacred than that among a coach, a team, and a town.

Synopsis:

One Shot at Forever is tender, fun, bittersweet, with a great narrative that just motors. It also features the funkiest coach not just in the history of baseball but the history of sport—an unforgettable character in a beautiful and unforgettable book.”

—Buzz Bissinger, author of Father’s Day and Friday Night Lights

“This book is so well told by Chris Ballard that it gives sportswriting a good name.”

—Frank Deford, author of Over Time: My Life as a Sportswriter

“Chris Ballard brings a big heart and a winning style to tell a memorable story of small-town Illinois. The boys of Macon renew our understanding of why baseball matters—and sometimes, why it matters too much.”

—Cait Murphy, author of Crazy ’08

“Chris Ballard finds the heart in the heartland, in this inspirational tale of a small-school ball club that reaches for glory.”

––Edward Achorn, author of Fifty-nine in ’84

About the Author

Chris Ballard is a Senior Writer at Sports Illustrated. In his ten years at the magazine he's written features, columns and bonus-length stories and covered a range of subjects, from the NBA and MLB to high-stakes pigeon racing and bass fishing. His work has been anthologized in the Best American Sports Writing series and he has twice been nominated by SI for a National Magazine Award. Ballard has also written a number of stories for the New York Times Magazine and is the author of three books: Hoops Nation (Holt, 1998), The Butterfly Hunter (Doubleday, 2006) and The Art of a Beautiful Game: The Thinking Fan's Tour of the NBA (Simon & Schuster/SI Books, 2009). He lives in Berkeley, CA.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Beverly B, August 1, 2013 (view all comments by Beverly B)
One Shot at Forever: A Small Town, an Unlikely Coach, and a Magical Baseball Season will join Miracle, Hoosiers and Rudy as great sports stories that aren't really about sports. "Have fun. Treat people well. Believe in them. Entrust them with responsibility. Lift them up." This was the radical teaching and coaching philosophy of Lynn Sweet, a young long haired hippie from the city who accepts a teaching job in a very small, very conservative, farming town in rural Illinois in 1971. Macon Illinois has never been the same. In a part of the country where basketball and football rule, baseball was an after thought. Yet, Lynn Sweet and his remarkable boys changed the culture of the region forever. Four decades later, people still talk about the boys, the coach and the day their team beat the Chicago powerhouse Lane Tech, a school that had more boys try out for the baseball team than Macon High School had students in its entire student body. Macon High School had gone through four coaches in four years. The budget was so small, there were only five bats for the whole team for the entire season. Lynn Sweet accepted the job reluctantly, but once he did, he realized he had a special team. The boys had been playing ball together since elementary school and had a magical bond. Lynn Sweet's "peacenik commie" way of coaching the team was exactly the right approach to inspire the boys. Even with a principal who was trying to sabotage his success, and parents who were trying to get him fired, Lynn Sweet was determined to help his team use their talent on the baseball field as a way to open their eyes to the magic of life and the power of their potential.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9781401324384
Author:
Ballard, Chris
Publisher:
Hyperion Books
Subject:
Baseball - History
Subject:
Sports and Fitness-Baseball General
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20120531
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.125 in 22.8 oz
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

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Featured Titles » Culture
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Sports and Outdoors » Sports and Fitness » Endcap

One Shot at Forever: A Small Town, an Unlikely Coach, and a Magical Baseball Season Used Hardcover
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Product details 272 pages Hyperion Books - English 9781401324384 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "A writer for Sports Illustrated, Ballard (The Art of the Beautiful Game) has expanded an article he wrote for the magazine about the 1971 Macon (Ill.) High School's baseball team's improbable run to the state finals. Coached by an eccentric outsider, a team of poor farm boys from a small, rural town take on the bigger and richer teams; this story has obvious parallels to the classic basketball film Hoosiers and in Ballard's capable hands evokes similar themes of inspiration, camaraderie and the pressure of the once-in-a-lifetime moments associated with prep athletics. By exploring the roots of the laid-back managing style of the team's coach, Lynn Sweet, a 'hippie' English teacher who allows his players to warm up to the soundtrack of Jesus Christ Superstar and wear peace signs on their hats, Ballard effortlessly captures the conflict between Eisenhower era beliefs and the changing cultural landscape in Vietnam-era America. But this is first and foremost a sports book, and the core is the dramatic state tournament games that are played out in such detail that it is as if you are sitting in the bleachers with nearly all of the 1,200 residents of Macon. Ballard holds the story of the team together with his conversational prose and boosts the story's poignancy with a touching conclusion that demonstrates the importance of high school sports and hometown heroes while asking, if not answering, the question of how much 'one game,' win or lose, can change a life. B&w photos. Agent: Robert Wilson. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , The Inspirational Story of a Coach, a Baseball Team, and the Season They'll Never Forget

In 1971, a small-town high school baseball team from rural Illinois playing with hand-me-down uniforms and peace signs on their hats defied convention and the odds. Led by an English teacher with no coaching experience, the Macon Ironmen emerged from a field of 370 teams to represent the smallest school in Illinois history to make the state final, a distinction that still stands. There, sporting long hair and warming up to Jesus Christ Superstar, the Ironmen would play a dramatic game against a Chicago powerhouse that would change their lives forever.

In this gripping, cinematic narrative, Sports Illustrated writer Chris Ballard tells the story of the team and its coach, Lynn Sweet, a hippie, dreamer, and intellectual who arrived in Macon in 1966, bringing progressive ideas to a town stuck in the Eisenhower era. Beloved by students but not administration, Sweet reluctantly took over the ragtag team, intent on teaching the boys as much about life as baseball. Inspired by Sweet's unconventional methods, the undersized, undermanned Macon Ironmen embarked on an improbable postseason run that infuriated rival coaches and buoyed a town suffering from a damaging drought and the shadow of the Vietnam War-one in desperate need of something to celebrate.

In a final grace note, Ballard returns to the present day, revisiting the 1971 Ironmen to explore the effect the game had on their lives' trajectories-and the men they've become because of it. Engaging and poignant, One Shot at Forever is a testament to the power of high school sports to shape the lives of those who play them, and it reminds us that there are few bonds more sacred than that among a coach, a team, and a town.
"Synopsis" by ,

One Shot at Forever is tender, fun, bittersweet, with a great narrative that just motors. It also features the funkiest coach not just in the history of baseball but the history of sport—an unforgettable character in a beautiful and unforgettable book.”

—Buzz Bissinger, author of Father’s Day and Friday Night Lights

“This book is so well told by Chris Ballard that it gives sportswriting a good name.”

—Frank Deford, author of Over Time: My Life as a Sportswriter

“Chris Ballard brings a big heart and a winning style to tell a memorable story of small-town Illinois. The boys of Macon renew our understanding of why baseball matters—and sometimes, why it matters too much.”

—Cait Murphy, author of Crazy ’08

“Chris Ballard finds the heart in the heartland, in this inspirational tale of a small-school ball club that reaches for glory.”

––Edward Achorn, author of Fifty-nine in ’84

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