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One Shot at Forever: A Small Town, an Unlikely Coach, and a Magical Baseball Season Hardcover – May 15, 2012
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"One Shot at Forever is tender, fun, bittersweet, with a great narrative that just motors. It also features the funkiest coach not just in the history of baseball but the history of sport--an unforgettable character in a beautiful and unforgettable book."
--Buzz Bissinger, author of Father's Day and Friday Night Lights
"One Shot at Forever is powerful, inspirational and--in an era where sports are too often marred by scandal--as pure and true as a warm spring breeze. This isn't merely a book about baseball. It's a book about heart."
--Jeff Pearlman, New York Times bestselling author of The Bad Guys Won
"Once upon a time, stories like One Shot at Forever were called fairy tales. It is a charming work and so well told by Chris Ballard that it gives sportswriting a good name."
--Frank Deford, author of Over Time: My Life As A Sportswriter
"[A] nonfiction gem about an underdog team that made good. This is the kind of baseball book that has long arms: YA readers, avid baseball fans, sports readers, and narrative nonfiction readers who like to be firmly set in a particular time and place should all find it joyful."
"Chris Ballard brings a big heart and a winning style to tell a memorable story of small-town Illinois. The boys of Macon renew our understanding of why baseball matters--and sometimes, why it matters too much."
--Cait Murphy, author of Crazy '08
About the Author
Chris Ballard is a senior writer at Sports Illustrated, where he specializes in narrative longform stories. He has also written for the New York Times Magazine, among other publications, and his work has twice been anthologized in the Best American Sports Writing series. Ballard is the author of four books: "Hoops Nation", "The Butterfly Hunter", "The Art of a Beautiful Game" and the forthcoming "One Shot at Forever: A Small Town, An Unlikely Coach and a Magical Baseball Season".
Ballard joined SPORTS ILLUSTRATED in September 2000. He has covered the NBA and MLB, written nearly 20 cover stories, penned the back page "Point After" column and written features on everything from pigeon racing to Jake Plummer's post-football life to the Vancouver riots. He is one of five 2012 finalists for a National Magazine Award in profile writing, is a past recipient of a National Headliner Award and was the 2011 winner of The Joanie Award for a story about Cal Berkeley coxswain Jill Costello, who died of lung cancer after her senior year. His 2010 story titled "Magical Season of the Macon Ironmen," which was included in the "Notables" section of the Best American Sports Writing anthology, provided the inspiration for his latest book.
Before joining SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Ballard was an intern at the Courier-Post in Camden, NJ. He has written for The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and other publications. Ballard has appeared on The Charlie Rose Show, ABC News with Dick Schaap, and Outside the Lines, and speaks regularly to groups of journalism students. A native Californian, Ballard graduated from Pomona College, where he played basketball and was on the track and field team. He lives in Berkeley with his wife Alexandra and two daughters, Callie and Eliza.
To read a collection of Ballard's best feature stories, go to: byliner.com/chris-ballard
Top customer reviews
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It is a baseball story and in some ways it reminded me of Money Ball.
I loved Money Ball and how Michael Lewis was true to Billy Beane's character and the story of how he single handedly changed professional Baseball.
Chris Ballard, in One Shot at Forever, is as true to this wonderful story and characters as Lewis;
And his characters are all so lovable.
I also think that One Shot, for so many reasons, is an important read for all of us.
It is a great, great American story in a tough time in American history.
Thank you Chris for doing such a thorough job in the research and at the same time turning this into an exciting and inspirational story to read.
If parents and coaches could only read One Shot at Forever and follow Lynn Sweet's main values:
Have fun, don't take it too seriously and facilitate the chemistry and whatever else it takes to give your kids an unconditional confidence that is so strong that it takes them far beyond what any person in their right mind could have predicted.
Sweet claims throughout the book and his life that he did not know how to coach and that he did not do anything but the kids did it all.
It reminded me of another wise man by the name of Socrates who claimed he did not know anything....
I read One Shot in one night.
I cried more than once.
Bravo, bravo, bravo!
At the highest level, the story runs much like Hoosiers, with a small-town Illinois baseball team going on an unlikely run against larger schools. But the real power of the book comes from the interplay of a small town stuck in the 1950s, an outsider coach straight out of the hippie-ville 1960s, a bunch of kids coming of age in the early 1970s, and the memories still seared in their minds as adults today.
Those memories are the real payoff of what's already an engaging story. The narrative is engaging on its own, but the way the games of their youth still stick in the psyche of many of the players, who now are in their 50s and 60s, goes right to what we cherish about high school sports -- whether we played them, coached them, or just cheered on our hometown heroes.