on May 8, 1997
Journalist Kessler takes a college team with little name recognition outside the Pacific Northwest and makes the characters fascinating!
From the stubborn coach of the women's basketball team to the ringers from Australia who join the team after the school year begins to the wily lawyer in Atlanta, one wants to know what will happen.
I think the reader sees both sides of the picture better than Jody the coach, and this is thanks to the honest approach of the author and the access she obtained to university staff as well as players and coaches.
The author looks at Title IX and Oregon's slow movement to comply with the rules, and this mirrors much that is going on in higher education throughout the country, and thus is extremely timely.
on June 30, 1998
I am unsure whether Kessler is condecending to some percieved limitation in the intellect of sports fans or whether she herself missed the point. I have never before been so frustrated by such limited scope in what I expected to be a text with some feminist ethics. The author devotes a great deal of time to simplistic repetitive themes and shows absolutely no appreciation what so ever for the spirit and beauty of the game. (Runge wears heels and has romantic problems, the lone Black player does not fit in with her team mates, and the Blacks in LA are allowed to talk trash - how obvious, how disappointing). This parochial treatment of the story left me feeling that I had been deprived.
Perhaps I missed Kessler's point. Perhaps feminst sports fans are not part of her target audience. I for one look upon athletics as a means for girls and young women to build self esteem and respect for other women. Kessler seems to applaud its more militaristic demands for conformity and submission to authority. All of this in short choppy repetitive sentences.
I strongly recommend Corbett's Venus to the Hoop for a positive and rewarding perspective on the women's game. I also found VanDerveer's Shooting from the Outside to be a pleasant read. Corbett brings a well rounded perspective - sophisticated enough to offer an interesting contrast between urban street ball and small town girls' preps leagues. VanDerveer proves that given enough knowledge and appreciation for the game the text can work without a complete or complex perspective. Kessler proves the at least one of the two is necessary.
on May 6, 1999
In a way I loved the book. But I also felt sorry for some of the players, for having to put up with someone like coach Runge. Arianne Boyer was a great player and still is, and for Runge to treat her like that upsets me. I go to Fort Vancouver High School and my Basketball/Volleyball coach is Arianne Boyer. Yes alot of the book is true, but I feel people didn't really get to see the real side of Arianne like my teammates and I do. She is very supportive and understanding and she cares for each one of us. I'm very glad that Runge acted the way she did, because now Arianne doesn't treat us the same way. She understands how far to push us. I'm glad that the book came out, it made me understand where my coach came from and how far she has come.
on January 31, 1999
I was led to believe the book would be a lot about the team and it was. However, there is an awful lot more about coach Jody Runge and her contract dilemma with the university while trying to build a winning basketball team. I can see why she may have hated this book. It is everything she isn't about. Your common fan isn't going to care so much about Title IX and men/women equity in sports. They just want to cheer for a winning team and learn about their experiences. The inside look at a women's basketball team was interesting, but it also got repetitive. Mention that a player misses her best friend once or twice and I get it. Mentioning it throughout the whole book is a bit much. The author gets too hung up on the coach's contract squabble that the team didn't even care about. Why should the reader care if the team didn't? There isn't much direct comment from the players, only their thoughts ... or is it the thoughts of the author for the players. Just about right on the season highlights ... not too much and not too little, just hitting what's important and how it affected the team.