Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Underdogs

I recently read a book called The Underdogs by Michael Lupica. It is a story about boy named Will Tyler, a star running back for his middle school football team. He fumbled the ball in the league championship game against the rival school, causing his team to lose. A year after his catastrophic fumble, his dreams of going back to the championship game and winning seem impossible. Tyler’s town, Forbes, Pennsylvania, is in economic decline. The sneaker factory has closed leaving a good part of the town unemployed. Will's father, who is raising Will by himself after Will’s mom died when he was two, is delivering the mail and going to school at night to try to learn new skills after losing his job at the factory. The town has limited resources so it decides to cancel the football program for middle school and Tyler’s team needs $10,000 to get his team into the league. Tyler throws his first of many desperation passes and finds a way to get a sponsor to put up the money to allow the school to field a team. At the same time, he is being recruited to play for his team’s rival, the same team that beat them in the championship. But Tyler is loyal to his school and more importantly, his town, and he refuses to leave for what would be a great opportunity. Now he has to find a coach and 10 other kids to play football. When he finds only 9 other boys to play, his only other options are an athletic girl named Hannah, who just moved into town, and Toby, a former teammate who doesn’t want to play. But Tyler is determined. He gets his teammates to let Hannah join and he gets Toby to realize how much he loves the game. He persuades his dad, a former star player who has turned against football because he badly damaged his knee in a high school football game, to be the coach. But Will faces more obstacles along the way to the big game including the loss of a star player to injury and the loss of Tyler's best friend, who has to move away mid-season. Somehow Will’s conviction is contagious and his team and the entire town rally together to bring the championship trophy to Forbes PA. The Underdogs is a great book and an inspiration for people who don’t want to fight through obstacles. It allows the reader to relate to the story because it takes place in the economic times we live in today. I liked this book because it tells people to never give up on their dream.

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