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Counting Coup: A True Story of Basketball and Honor on the Little Big Horn Paperback – Bargain Price, October 1, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Colton arrived in Crow, Mont., ready to write a book about a season of boy's high school basketball in the Crow Indian community. But when he saw graceful Sharon Laforge shooting hoops, he was drawn to her athleticism and fascinated by the dichotomy between her on-court focus and her off-court distractedness. To get closer to Laforge, Colton tracks her senior year on the Lady Bulldogs, from the first practice through tournament play. He rides the team bus, assists at practice, wins a spot as an "honorary seventeen-year-old girl," and is eventually adopted into the tribe by Laforge's family. In Laforge, Colton finds a young woman in distress; as she attempts to fulfill her own and her family's hopes, she struggles with the uglier legacies of her community: alcoholism, domestic abuse, abandonment, shortsighted tribal politics, fierce racism and misogyny. In search of a happy ending, Colton follows as Laforge sticks it out with her abusive boyfriend, raises two boys and struggles toward her high school and college degrees. To his credit, Colton effectively employs his position as an outsider to explore the group's culture, and his long-term perspective allows him to convey the drive Laforge needs to survive. However, by centering his focus on one person, he misses opportunities to reflect on larger questions. (In particular, he seems unaware of Ian Frazier's writing about Sharon Big Crow, a basketball star and hopeful who juggled similar pressures on a Lakota reservation in South Dakota.) Nonetheless, 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. Author tour. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
On many Indian reservations, high-school basketball has become a popular venue for expressing the pride of Native Americans. Yet for all the promise these young Indian athletes exhibit, few are able to overcome the negative forces--poverty, alcoholism, teen pregnancy, poor education--that surround them. Colton, a former professional baseball player and veteran author, spent 15 months on the Crow reservation in Montana observing the Hardin High School girls' basketball team. He focuses on the players--especially talented Sharon LaForge--and their relationships with their teammates and coaches, but he also explores the social conditions that affect the players' lives. Alcoholism is a reservation plague, but drug abuse, domestic violence, shoddy education, and low personal expectations also help prevent these children from ever reaching their potential, on and off the court. But Colton also finds joy, humor, and ethnic pride among the reservation populace. Similar in tone to Kareem Abdul Jabbar's recent A Season on the Reservation , Colton's book tells an inspirational story but one firmly grounded in reality. There are no Hoosier-like state championships and no soaring personal triumphs. Sharon LaForge doesn't get a college scholarship; she ends up pregnant, and she quits basketball. But she also enrolls in junior college and is doggedly pursuing her education despite long odds. On the rez, victories are not recorded in scorebooks or by sweeping social reform, but by proud people taking control of their lives inch by hard-fought inch. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Well written and an unbiased as could probably be about some unsettling behaviors of both adults and kids growing up.
I felt this story was worth telling -- in a newspaper, covering sports events.