by Al Ainsworth
Coach Dave Rivers has been named coach of the twelve-year-old Southburg All-Stars. His team has the talent and versatility to compete for championships. However, his fellow All-Star coach is his nemesis, Fletcher Brandt. Will their very different philosophies be able to mesh in time for the team to play to its capacity? Or will their inability to find common ground be the downfall of the team? Join some of the players, coaches, and dads from Coach Dave: Season One as they meet new team- mates and dads to learn about life through the game of baseball. Enjoy the gripping game action and wrestle with issues that threaten the integrity of youth baseball.
Coach Dave has his hands full trying to ride herd on a team of twelve-year-old baseball players, but that's simply the least of his worries. He can manage the boys, but when it comes to the parents... And Coach Fletcher sizes up to be the biggest thundercloud in the gathering storm, as Coach Dave guides his team to win State.
Can the differences in Fletcher's and Dave's coaching styles mesh to create a formidable team that can win the championship? All this oil-and-water mix needs is a match to blow the team to pieces.
Coach Dave: Season Two All-Stars is a good book for dads to read with their sons. Especially when there's baseball in the family. Several times, strategy and sacrifice win the game, when aiming for the fences would end the game in a loss. Teamwork and sacrifice are emphasized over glory and favoritism, and these life lessons play well off the field as well.
The interaction of the boys, coaches, and Dads in this whimsical look at youth baseball make for an entertaining and thought-provoking read. The play-by-play action of the tournament gives the feel of being behind the chain links watching the game. The Point Of View for the entire story is Rob's dad, and he gives an accurate description of each game as it plays out, and the conflicts in the stands.
G - There's no blood, and only a minor sports injury. There's some minor veiled threats from some angry dads about what should be done with a wayward coach or a blind umpire, but that kind of talk is quickly shut down. I think at one point a baseball cap might have been thrown down in anger. I can't imagine that's a common scene in baseball... :-)
G - I don't recall any curse words at all in the book. Unless you count 'dadgum', which I certainly don't.
PG - There are several discussions about divorce, and a dad shows up at one game with a new girlfriend on his arm, causing an unfortunate scene in the stands. At twelve, the boys aren't thinking much about girls, so much as they are about ball.
Coach Dave seems to be a solid father figure, to boys from a broken home or not. God is mentioned a few times, and one of the dads is a preacher who finds it a bit difficult to attend the Sunday games. That's an issue quite a few Christian parents face periodically with youth sports, and was explored briefly. The preacher invites one of the dads to church with him, but the dad politely declines.
I've been that kid that was picked last for a ball team, or the odd man out that held the fence and watched while others played. I've also been on a Corporate Team where I rode the bench the entire season, and only got to play one game, when a player was sick. So I understood the role of the Alternate well, and the pain that can go along with it. I felt that Rob handled it much better than I did, even as an adult. The life issues that came up in this book speak to many a young man faced with divorced parents, being the odd man out, or the disappointment of being the reason the team didn't win the game.
All-Stars was a well-written sequel to Coach Dave: Season One, and put you right in the game along with the boys, and the Dads living vicariously through their sons. I found it immersive, entertaining, and thought-provoking; a lighthearted dive into youth baseball with a dash of off-field lessons thrown in. Five Stars!
About the Author:
I tell stories with ingrained values. I began with a collection of my own childhood stories. Called Lines in the Gravel, the book's stories collectively tell a bigger story, that story is a primary vehicle in passing our values from one generation to the next.
Stories from the Roller Coaster was my second book. It tells the story of how God changed the plans I had for my own life over and over again...and how He shaped me through those changes.
I am currently working on a series of sports books, the Coach Dave series. Centered around a new young coach in a town set in its baseball ways, the Coach Dave books help youth baseball players, parents, and coaches find the values that sports can teach...if we will intention to find them.
You can get in touch with Al on his website at http://alainsworth.com/