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God on the Starting Line: The Triumph of a…

God on the Starting Line: The Triumph of a Catholic School Running Team…

by Marc Bloom

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This book was a pretty quick read, and made me wish I'd run cross country in high school! I enjoyed reading about the journey the coach and runners took over a couple of years, and how the different personalities and skill levels worked together to have a successful season. ( )
  dukefan86 | May 29, 2013 |
Cross-country is the Rodney Dangerfield of sports in many high schools, overshadowed by the soccer craze and derided as a fall-back for those unable to make the cut in the glamour sports. If more people read "God on the Starting Line" they might see this sport for what it is: a demanding test of willpower, pain tolerance and team cohesiveness played out in a natural setting.

As Marc Bloom illustrates through this vivid depiction of his undermanned squad's break-through season, cross country is completely at odds with the pressures and temptations faced by today's adolescents in our video-game, fast-food culture. It's his ability as a coach to connect with these kids and instill a desire to rise above the ordinary that makes this simple story such a triumph.

The author, in his exuberance to connect with the reader and in his meditations on the larger meaning of running, lapses into a series of seemingly random associations in some passages that break up the training and race descriptions. Yet those with the patience to follow his train of thought through these interludes may come away convinced that the purification-by-pain and honest living demanded by cross-country running do indeed bring both coach and athlete closer to the divine.

-Kevin Joseph, author of "The Champion Maker" ( )
  KevinJoseph | Jan 24, 2007 |
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