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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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