Synopses & Reviews
Hope is hard to come by in the hard-luck town of Willow Creek. Sam Pickett and five young men are about to change that.
Sam Pickett never expected to settle in this dried-up shell of a town on the western edge of the world. He's come here to hide from the violence and madness that have shattered his life, but what he finds is what he least expects. There's a spirit that endures in Willow Cree, Montana. It seems that every inhabitant of this forgotten outpost has a story, a reason for taking a detour to this place — or a reason for staying.
As the coach of the hapless high school basketball team (zero wins, ninety-three losses), Sam can't help but be moved by the bravery he witnesses in the everyday lives of people — including his own young players — bearing their sorrows and broken dreams. How do they carry on, believing in a future that seems to be based on the flimsiest of promises? Drawing on the strength of the boys on the team, sharing the hope they display despite insurmountable odds, Sam finally begins to see a future worth living.
Author Stanley Gordon West has filled the town of Willow Creek with characters so vividly cast that they become real as relatives, and their stories — so full of humor and passion, loss and determination — illuminate a path into the human heart.
"In this originally self-published hit, the small town of Willow Creek, Mont., is the place where dreams go to die. English teacher and basketball coach Sam Pickett hasn't won a game in five seasons and decides to quit coaching, but he changes his mind after getting a look at the 6-ft.-11 Norwegian exchange student, Olaf Gustafson. Sam's other recruits include Tom Stonebreaker, whose drunken father would rather see him working the family farm, and Peter Strong, who moves in with his hippie grandmother after his parents' divorce and would rather be back home in Minnesota with his girlfriend. As the team coalesces around Olaf and begins winning games, their march toward the state tournament inspires Willow Creek and ignites a touching romance between Sam and his assistant coach. If the novel is a little too long, its sentiments worn too shamelessly on its sleeve, and its symbolism a little too obvious (Sam dubs the team bus 'Rozinante' in honor of Don Quixote's steed), this uplifting story about the triumph of human decency is sure to be enjoyed by those who fondly recall another David vs. Goliath roundball yarn — Hoosiers. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"West has created a moving story, and one that moves along quickly, tying the lessons of basketball to those of life. As Coach Pickett says, 'Maybe after so many losses along the way we all need to win at something,' a sentiment so true after all." Minneapolis Star-Tribune
In the tradition of such films as Hoosiers
, Breaking Away
, and Rocky
, here is an inspiring story about the rundown town of Willow Creek, Montana, and the handful of people who live there with a sense of fateful resignation. One of them, high school English teacher Sam Pickett, is the coach of the school's basketball team, which has an abysmal record of zero wins and ninety-three losses.
But the sudden arrival of two potential hoops stars gives both the town and the team something to believe in. This tale of misfits brought together through the determination of a man struggling to bury his past is fueled by page-turning on-the-court action, characters you won't want to let go of, and a story you won't soon forget.
And the story behind the novel is almost as inspiring as the tale of the small town and its dogged team. Over time, this self-published book earned a devoted following, thanks to the perseverance of its author. Sure to capture the hearts of a vast number of new readers, Blind Your Ponies is a classic tale of overcoming adversity told with humor and compassion.
About the Author
Stanley Gordon West has made a name for himself by selling his books single-handedly from bookstore to bookstore, in the process gathering a large and devoted audience. His earlier novel, Amos: To Ride a Dead Horse, became a made-for-TV movie starring Kirk Douglas. He lives in Minnesota.