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First in a Field of Two: A Junior Tennis Memoir Paperback – 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Barry Bass (2012)
  • ISBN-10: 1467558370
  • ISBN-13: 978-1467558372
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,612,432 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

I just finished your book and had a difficult time putting it down, but at the same time had to walk away from it too because it was so real for me. Your gift in the way you express your thoughts, feelings, and experiences has been freely and meaningfully shared in your book. With you as my guide I was able to live it with you. Your retrospective clarity and ability to analyse past behavior in order to connect the emotional dots is astonishing to me. You have put into words feelings that were inexplicable and they make perfect sense. Yeah, it's personal and it is fantastic! A must read for anyone who played junior tennis whether you are the one to identify with Barry or knew someone who who acted like him. Also, I feel strongly that parents and coaches read it as well. It gives you insight into how children are affected by parents behavior, words, interest, reactions, or lack of. For coaches it can help you understand when a player needs help that goes beyond strategy and technique between the lines. Great work! T
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I have known Barry for over 30 years. I had no idea what all he had gone through, but did witness firsthand the abuse he took at the Junior Tournaments. I attended Barry's book signing last night and found him to be delightful as I did when he was a youngster. This book is definitely geared towards parents on how NOT to raise your children to be tennis players. Too many parents want to live their lives through their children and push them too hard. This book is a perfect example of it.

Barry is one of the brightest young men I know, and I wish him success in his endeavors through out the rest of his life. I also hope he continues to write, as he has an incredible gift for writing.
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"There is in this world no such force as the force of a person determined to rise."

Barry Buss gives a harrowing account of the pressures which confronted him as a gifted junior tennis playing talent. Bullied by a relentlessly dysfunctional parent, he rises, falls and struggles to rise again to find personal redemption and reconciliation.

This book is a tale of what not to do as a loving parent
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This book is out of this world! Barry has a story to tell and he tells it with brutal honestly and gut wrenching drama and emotion. A must read for aspiring tennis professionals the world over, from high school players, college to pro, while especially fitting for tennis player's parents. Yet not just for tennis players, it's lessons stretch far outside this sport, as a riveting look into the perils, the trials and tribulations of life in collage and beyond. In this novel, truth is stranger than fiction, on the order of `Rocky' (with a little Bukowski) showing the triumph of the human spirit, and one's love for his sport, an adventure that will leave you spellbound.
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Although it's titled a "Junior Tennis Memoir", and tennis plays prominently (and fascinatingly) as the backdrop, in the end its more about an incredibly gifted man's life being pulled and pushed by substance abuse, mental illness, and a severely dysfunctional family. Ultimately its about making amends for, and sense of, all the wreckage.

But it's also a real page turner, with events that seem straight out of a Hollywood script. Here you have a guy with no formal tennis training. Alcoholism. A terribly dysfunctional family. And somehow he's competing with (and beating) the best junior players in the country.

There are fantastic events, here like a summer during his freshman year at UCLA teaching tennis to a Saudi Arabian Prince and making "thousands of dollars an hour...and living the lifestyle of the riches and running with the most famous people in all of our society". And from this auspicious beginning as a college tennis god, Barry somehow loses it all and ends up as close to homeless as you can get, living out of a beat up old van.

Then there is the story of playing through a major tournament, and advancing to the end, on a broken leg. I mean you can't make this stuff up. If Hollywood or Oprah get a hold of this, it could be turned into one hell of a movie.

There is one image in the beginning of the book that is quite striking. Barry, seemingly out of nowhere, begins talking about Andy Roddick's retirement. And he zooms in on Roddick's "box". The player's box, of course, is where a player's family and friends sit during a match to encourage and cheer. And in Andy's case, it's a portrait of the enduring love and support from both a biological and extended family.
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The reviews on this book are glowing with a few detractors which turn out to be family members with Buss and are not that enamored. The book doesn't deserve that type praise. Barry has a troubled relationship with his parents but I really don't think it was troubled enough to fill a book. And this barely qualifies as a book it is so short. There are excellent parts: his junior career and rise to National Team and eventual fall, and his Ucla career is particularly compelling as he set the record for most wins and then lost it, literally.

I liked parts of this book and am glad I read it. But so many reviews talk like this is instructional for parents. Being in the tennis community I think this type risk is well overdone as most junior tennis players I know are on a path far above the average student.
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