Fellow Word Shakers, When I started reading the book, Night Hoops by Carl Deuker, I was very bored. I felt like I wasn’t relating to the characters and the plot was moving too slowly. I questioned whether I should start a new book; however, I persevered just like Nick, and I am very grateful that I stuck with it. After reading Night Hoops, I have developed a new mindset on how I should pursue my goals no matter what impediments obstruct my ability to reach them.
Nick, the protagonist, always dreamt of earning his spot on his high school’s varsity basketball team, but his road to the team was filled with family troubles; being overshadowed by his older brother, Scott; and run-ins with Trent, the local bully. However, Nick persevered through it all and accomplished his goal of making the varsity basketball team. Over the past few years, I have been extremely dedicated to becoming the best golfer I can be.
However recently, I have lost my enthusiasm for the game.
Because of this, I feel like I can relate to Nick and although he is a fictional character, use him as inspiration to rededicate myself to the game of golf. Aside from my fascination with Nick’s perseverance and dedication, I was intrigued by the friendship that developed between Nick and Trent, the local bully. At first, Trent and Nick didn’t get along. In fact, Trent beat Nick up. However, as Deuker took us through their relationship we saw how they soon became good friends who were connected through the game of basketball.
From this, I realized that some of the people best fit for you could be right under your nose, but they put up a facade to support their tough guy image so you don’t get a chance to get to know who they truly are. Another aspect of the book that really captured my attention was how Nick’s father applied pressure on him to succeed in basketball. At first, this pressure really inhibited Nick’s ability to play good basketball. However, as he became used to the pressure and used it as motivation, Nick became the player both he and his dad always wanted him to be.
This brings up the dilemma that a lot of parents struggle with today. Should they push their kids to succeed or should they let their kids succeed on their own? There is no right or wrong answer to this question, but I think it is fascinating that Deuker poses this question in a book written for teens. More than just my experience with the different characters, I loved Deuker’s very tangible description of the basketball games: “He caught it in stride, soared upward in the same fluid motion, and gently laid the ball against the backboard. It dropped through the net just as the horn sounded.
A tenth of a second later we were jumping all over him” (167). I felt like I was at the game, sitting on the edge of my seat praying that the ball falls through the net, and jumping into the air screaming in joy when it does. Although I loved his poetic descriptions of the basketball games, I felt like too often he used very basic, simple language. Every book has its flaws, but if you are into basketball, like a story about perseverance, or want to be taken through a great friendship then this book is definitely for you. I hope that you enjoy this book as much as I did. Yours Truly,
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