‘One Shot at Forever’
As an English teacher, I occasionally assign students to read a book outside of class and write a book analysis on that particular book. I always give them some guidelines and hope they choose something that might relate to their interests. In late December, I read around 80 book analyses written by my junior classes. One book especially intrigued me, mostly because it was non-fiction and took place in rural Illinois in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s.
A couple of days later, my wife and I were at the Geneseo library, and the same book was on the new non-fiction shelf, so I checked it out. The book, “One Shot at Forever,” by Chris Ballard, is about a small-town Illinois baseball team and their coach in the early 1970s.
I recommend the book to anyone who has any interest in small-town life in the late 1960s and early ‘70s, The Vietnam War era and its effect on rural America (complete with peace signs and “Jesus Christ Superstar”), the close-knit camaraderie of a team and their coach (who were sometimes called “the mod squad”), and baseball. The book was particularly interesting to me because the coach was an English teacher who originally had no intention of coaching baseball or any sport.
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