Synopses & Reviews
In Native American tradition, a warrior gained honor and glory by "counting coup" -- touching his enemy in battle and living to tell the tale. This is a modern story of...
In this extraordinary work of journalism, Larry Colton journeys into the world of Montana's Crow Indians and follows the struggles of a talented, moody, charismatic young woman named Sharon LaForge, a gifted basketball player and a descendant of one of George Armstrong Custer's Indian scouts. But "Counting Coup" is far more than just a sports story or a portrait of youth. It is a sobering exposé of a part of our society long since cut out of the American dream.
Along the banks of the Little Big Horn, Indians and whites live in age-old conflict and young Indians grow up without role models or dreams. Here Sharon carries the hopes and frustrations of her people on her shoulders as she battles her opponents on and off the court. Colton delves into Sharon's life and shows us the realities of the reservation, the shattered families, the bitter tribal politics, and a people's struggle against a belief that all their children -- even the most intelligent and talented -- are destined for heartbreak. Against this backdrop stands Sharon, a fiery, undaunted competitor with the skill to dominate a high school game and earn a college scholarship. Yet getting to college seems beyond Sharon's vision, obscured by the daily challenge of getting through the season -- physically and ps
"To 'count coup,' especially by touching one's enemy on the chest in battle, was considered the bravest act a young Plains Indian warrior could perform. Fascinated with Native American athletes, the author, a former professional baseball player, decided to spend time at the Crow Indian Reservation in southeastern Montana exploring why Native American teen-age boys renowned for their basketball prowess so rarely live up to their potential. Instead of boys' teams, though, three chance encounters with seventeen-year-old Sharon LaForge, co-captain of her high school basketball team, led Colton to turn his attention to Hardin High's Lady Bulldogs. Racism was only one of the factors that undermined the team. For all their passionate support of the Lady Bulldogs, parents, often alcoholic and, for the most part, living in terrible poverty, exercised little control over their children, with no discipline off court and no curfew. In a deceptively breezy, almost conversational prose style, Colton, who weaves his story into that of Sharon's, covers, in some very exciting writing, the team's rise and fall as it makes it all the way to the state championship." Ann Collette
"Sometimes a book surprises a reader, sneaking up on him. That is just what happened with Colton's new work. This is a great book! It's about women's sports; it is about high school kids; it's about racial divisions between whites and Indians....In spending a year with the team, the author sees all the highs and lows (and there are many of both) in the ultimately unsuccessful quest for the state championship." Library Journal
"Colton's love of basketball and caring insights deliver a sad but ultimately hopeful sort of Hoop Dreams, complete with the struggle for maturity, a community's collective dream and the athletic grace that can momentarily hold the world at bay." From Publisher's Weekly
"Conton writes with unpretentious grace, generous humor, and probing honesty. He show us the sport and the players in the intricately tangled social contexts that lend weight and meaning far beyond the game." Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love
"When our time's true sportswriters not the mere recorders of games but rather the conveyers of the otherwise ineffable meaning of those games are listed, Larry colton may be foremost among them." Keith Olbermann
An acclaimed journalist tells the story of a girls' high school basketball team in Montana that carries the hopes and dreams of a Native American tribe on its shoulders for an entire season. 8-page photo insert.
In Native American tradition, "counting coup" meant literally touching one's enemy in battle and living to tell about it. Now it means playing winning hoops and dominating one's opponent. Counting Coup is the story of the girls' varsity basketball team of Hardin High School in Crow, Montana. The team is comprised of both Crow Indian and White girls, and is led by Sharon Laforge, a moody, undisciplined, yet talented Native American who hopes to be the first female player from Hardin to earn a basketball scholarship to college. Larry Colton shows readers the hardscrabble existence of a rural small town beset by racism, alcoholism, and domestic violence, and in so doing produces a touching, heartfelt, and beautifully written true story that will leave readers cheering for the girls they have come to know.