"...If I had started out little more than an observer, the
detached reporter, that separation was long gone. I wanted Hope to
win because it needed to win; needed it for respect, for validation,
for some tangible proof that if you worked hard enough and cared
enough there would be some reward..."
Normally sports is a genre I avoid in literature as well as real
life. I'm not gonna lie to you. Even growing up in Massachusetts and
moving just a little north to Maine I couldn't care less about the
fortunes of the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, and whomever else I'm
supposed to root for. So a sports book has to be very special for me
to pick it up, let alone read the whole thing. Bill Reynolds' Hope:
A School, A Team, A Dream is that kind of special.
Hope is a very run down inner city Rhode Island high school.
Underfunded and overcrowded it has high rates of students turnover,
dropping out, violence, and absentiism. It educates a lot of kids who
are often too hungry, stressed, and scared to apply themselves to
school work or sports...the kids most of us would rather not see in a
place we can too easily ignore.
"....This is the Providence of sirens and gunshots in the night,
of kids who live in fear, of gritty streets where there are too many
drugs, too many gangs, too many guns, too little hope that it's gonna
change anytime soon. This is the Providence that got left behind in
the so-called Providence Renaissance in the '90s. A place you could
spend your entire life in Rhode Island ignoring, a place where the
American Dream has been under siege for a long time now."
Reynolds, a sports columnist for the Providence Journal, had
written about students who had overcome all the odds and achieved
success. He began to wonder about the others. He did an in depth
coverage of Hope's 2012-2013 basketball season. You get to know the
kids and coaches and the many obstacles they have to contend with.
Interwoven skillfully with the games and personal drama is plenty of
This is no after school special. Even as it uplifts, it should
also make you angry that in the United States in the twenty-first
century educational opportunity is so unequal.
On a personal note, last week we had a local writers program at the
Orono Public Library. Six of us read from our work to an appreciative
audience. I read two of my love poems which people took to like Joey
cat to tuna.
A great big shout out goes out to all who work to give kids in inner
city schools a fighting chance.
Sent from my iPod