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Friday, June 24, 2005

Basketball: The Miracle of St. Anthony

A relative gave me The Miracle of St. Anthony, by Adrian Wojnarowski. The book covers the 2003-4 basketball season of coach Bob Hurley, in an inner-city Catholic high school in New Jersey. (I occasionally blog about basketball, and this year's season is over, except for the WNBA.)

Hurley is an amazing man, who should be commended for his work. (This newspaper article says he has turned down several million dollars in offers to coach college.) Both his sons played under him. One, Bobby, was an NCAA star, and played successfully in the NBA, but was injured badly in a car wreck. Both are now involved in high school coaching.

A few impressions:
Some high school basketball programs are big business. (Most certainly aren't) They are designed to prepare young men for college and NBA stardom. In a sense, that's true of Hurley's. His basketball success keeps his school alive.
Some young men are taught, from high school and before, that they are stars. Hurley thinks that that doesn't teach them really solid basketball. It also can do awful things to their egos.
Hurley is tough. I don't think that much of the language he is reported to use is necessary. I don't live in inner-city New Jersey, though.
The book was very frank. The only white kid on the team had a very pushy mother, who was not portrayed favorably. I checked, and there was such a kid on his team. I'm surprised the mother didn't sue. Maybe she did.
Not only Hurley, but several other people, including Mrs. Hurley, made great sacrifices for the school and the team.
Inner-city New Jersey is a terrible place to live, and the best thing most young people from there can do for themselves is to leave such an atmosphere. Most, even some who are offered basketball scholarships, are not willing to.

1 comment:

Archie Modlin said...

It''s quite impressive.