Thursday, August 20, 2020

Blind Your Ponies - Book Review

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93 losses.  Zero wins.  Pretty much everyone in Willow Creek, Montana has known the agony of defeat.  This is a one-horse town where few imagined ending up and even fewer meant to stay.

The thing is, magic happens—even in those outposts that have known more than their share of dashed hopes—especially in those bleak has-been places where glory is just a word in the dictionary.  Everyone in Willow Creek is there for a reason.  And it is in how those reasons come together, in one fairytale basketball season, that we come to love, and cheer on, this ragtag group of misfits.

Some books just grab you by the heart and never let go.  This is one of those books.  Blind Your Ponies is about never giving up.  It is about finding love in the midst of loss.  It is about the transformative power of grief, and healing, and believing when it seems crazy to believe.  It is ultimately a book about letting in the things that can lift you past the point of hopelessness and despair.

Who is this cast of characters that will cause us to cheer until we are hoarse?  There is Sam Pickett.  English teacher and "losingest" basketball coach ever.  This is a man who has experienced the worst that can happen to someone he loved.  He is a crushed soul who will be lifted by the young boys who would go to any length for their beloved coach.

Which brings us to the boys on the team.  Dean, Pete, Olaf, Tom, Rob, and Curtis.  These young men have known deprivation, the feeling of not being good enough, the doubt that comes from being tossed away by those who were supposed to love them most. 

There has never been a group less destined to succeed on the basketball court, unless, of course, you can see into their hearts.  They will come together, by the sheer power of heart, to achieve the unimaginable.  In that unlikely march to claiming what was theirs all along, we will come to know what it means to give everything you are to become everything you can be. 

You don't have to love basketball, coaching, teaching, or mentoring young people to get caught up in this story.  But, if you, like me, have ever had the great privilege of being involved in those high callings, it will be impossible not to embrace this book with that part of you that has known, and nurtured, a Dean, a Pete, an Olaf, Tom, Rob, or Curtis.  Once you have experienced the immense joy of helping shape a child's life, you are forever a part of the greatest enterprise on earth. 

Blind Your Ponies will move you in ways you didn't even know you needed to be moved.  If you have loved movies like Hoosiers, Rocky, or Rudy, you are sure to be lifted by the spirit of this inspirational book.  Highly recommended.  Five stars.
















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14 comments:

  1. Inspirational books always leave you with a sense of awe and have you cheering for the underdog. They also often have a life-message you can take to heart. This book sounds like another winner to put on my 'To-Read' list.

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    1. Yes! I felt that awe while reading Blind Your Ponies. And who can resist an underdog? Not I. My spirit exults when the underdog wins.

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  2. I like this kind of book too. Inspire me and let the story live in me and then let's see what can happen after that. This sounds like a wonderful read and I'm putting it on my list, the one where I go to first for help in finding my next good story. Thanks Diana!

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    1. I love that... "inspire me and let the story live in me and then let's see what can happen after that."

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  3. Sounds like a wonderful book and I've found that I love the books you recommend. Thanks for another recommendation.

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    1. I love it when the books I recommend resonate with others. Thank you for sharing that with me. I try to find universally inspiring books that are uplifting (and unique).

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  4. I do love movies and books where the underdog comes out ahead. This story sounds like all of the characters, not just one, need a big win to celebrate.

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    1. You got that right! Every single character needs a win and it is wonderful to see how that comes to pass.

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  5. I, too, love stories about an underdog with a lot of heart and grit, whose "dogged" (sorry!) determination eventually win the day, despite myriad prior defeats. Your reviews have never steered me wrong. In fact, we're currently listening to, and loving, "The Garden of Small Beginnings." I'll definitely be adding "Blind Your Ponies" to my reading list!

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    1. Yay! I'm happy to hear this. I try to find unique books with an uplifting essence to share here. It feels validating when readers pick up a book I recommend. I don't want to ever disappoint anyone who trusts my judgment about good reads.

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  6. Thank you! I am looking forward to reading this one!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! Let me know what you think after you have the chance to read Blind Your Ponies.

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  7. I loved all those popular sports movies! This book sounds incredible. Without this review I would never know it existed! It sounds like this one needs to be made into movie format too. This book would also make a great gift.

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    1. I could see Blind Your Ponies as a movie. Whoever got to cast the characters would have a blast! It would certainly make for a powerful and inspirational film.

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