Travel Team [NOOK Book]

Overview

The #1 Bestseller!

Twelve-year-old Danny Walker may be the smallest kid on the basketball court -- but don't tell him that. Because no one plays with more heart or court sense. But none of that matters when he is cut from his local travel team, the very same team his father led to national prominence as a boy. Danny's father, still smarting from his own troubles, knows Danny isn't the only kid who was cut for the wrong reason, and together, ...
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Travel Team

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Overview

The #1 Bestseller!

Twelve-year-old Danny Walker may be the smallest kid on the basketball court -- but don't tell him that. Because no one plays with more heart or court sense. But none of that matters when he is cut from his local travel team, the very same team his father led to national prominence as a boy. Danny's father, still smarting from his own troubles, knows Danny isn't the only kid who was cut for the wrong reason, and together, this washed-up former player and a bunch of never-say-die kids prove that the heart simply cannot be measured.

For fans of The Bad News Bears, Hoosiers, the Mighty Ducks, and Mike Lupica's other New York Times bestselling novels Heat, The Underdogs, and Million-Dollar Throw, here is a book that proves that when the game knocks you down, champions stand tall.



After he is cut from his travel basketball team--the very same team that his father once led to national prominence--twelve-year-old Danny Walker forms his own team of cast-offs that might have a shot at victory.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
For young Danny Walker, this cut was the deepest. Being dropped from the local travel team because of his shortness would have been bad enough, but knowing that he wouldn't be able to compete in the tournament that his father had won was downright humiliating. Fortunately, Danny wasn't the only kid cut for the wrong reasons, and these "runt rejects" have gained an unexpected advocate: Danny's ne'er-do-well dad. New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica has penned a basketball novel as exciting as any Hollywood sports film.
Publishers Weekly
Sports columnist Lupica (Red Zone) clearly shoots from the heart in this appealing novel centering on a talented basketball player. Danny, after playing for two years for the Vikings, fails to make the seventh-grade travel team because he is "too small." The team is coached by the overly intense Jeff Ross who, as a boy, was always the second-best player on the Vikings-just behind Danny's father, Richie, who led the Vikings to a World Series victory. Richie went on to become an NBA star until a car accident ended his career. Now divorced from Danny's mother, the man returns to town and offers to organize and coach a second travel team, the Warriors. Lupica thus sets the scene for on-court action, and delivers play-by-play descriptions of the team practices and games that will thrill basketball buffs. The novel's emotional pitch intensifies when Richie is seriously injured in yet another car accident, Danny takes over as coach of his team, and Ross's son, Ty, the star of the Vikings, defects from his father's team to join the Warriors. Danny's budding romance with his long-time friend Tess adds a sweet, pleasingly corny sideline to the plot, which culminates with the showdown between the rival teams. To Lupica's credit, the narrative never lingers too long on the fathers' rivalry, instead keeping the focus on Danny, his teammates and his family. The novel includes some genuinely affecting moments, especially those depicting Danny's rapport with each parent. Ages 10-up. (Nov.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Twelve year old Danny Walker, a talented basketball player, fails to make the cut for his seventh grade all-star travel team—the same suburban Middletown team that Danny's father had once led to the championship—and Danny's world begins to fall apart. Making matters worse, Danny has stopped growing at fifty-five inches tall. And who ever heard of a successful fifty-five inch basketball player? Things couldn't possibly get worse. But Danny's life is about to improve in ways that he could not possibly have foreseen. Richie Walker has not been involved in his son Danny's life for a few years, but he suddenly returns to Middletown. As a former professional basketball star, Richie has been struggling with estrangement from Danny and ex-wife Alison, with alcohol abuse, and with disability resulting from an accident years earlier. Richie, however, is now determined to make a positive difference in Danny's life, so Richie decides to organize and coach a new travel team with Danny and a few other talented players. With this as the premise, Lupica's commendable novel takes off at a fast-break pace and includes plenty of exciting twists and turns. Danny, his parents, his friends, and the folks in Middletown all learn something wonderful about friendship, family relationships, teamwork, and respect. Teachers, librarians, and parents should note, however, that profanities which may offend some readers occasionally intrude into the dialogue. 2004, Philomel/Penguin Young Readers Group, Ages 9 to 12.
—Tim Davis
KLIATT
This is Lupica's first YA novel; he is well known for his sports novels for adults and as a sports writer for The New York Daily News. He has four children and has coached youth basketball, so writing about a team of talented basketball players and their struggling season is not a big reach for him. The main character is 12-year-old Danny, small for his age, a smart, fast basketball player who understands the game better than most. He is the child of a successful basketball player (not so successful as a husband and father), whose career was cut short by an accident; Danny's father is staying around this season to coach Danny's team. So the story of basketball games, players' problems and injuries, family tensions, is also about fathers and sons, friendship, and competition. Fathers who use their sons to satisfy and fulfill their own dreams is a theme throughout. Lupica has great respect for the boys struggling to deal with their own skills, their fathers, their teammates, and their coaches. It's a fairly long story for a YA novel, but all the details of basketball games and practices will be welcome to true basketball fans. It's such a relief to have a sports tale written by someone who truly understands the game—and Lupica knows how to create believable characters as well. An excellent sports story. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2004, Penguin, Philomel, 274p., Ages 12 to 15.
—Claire Rosser
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Basketball is everything to 12-year-old fanatic Danny Walker, so when he doesn't make the seventh-grade travel team because he's "too short" his world seems to fall apart. Danny's dream had always been to follow in the footsteps of his father, the famous Richie Walker, who competed successfully at the nationals and went on to a promising sports career that was cut short by a tragic car accident. To Danny's surprise, his father steps forward and offers to put together and coach his own youth team. What happens next is beyond everyone's wildest expectations. Wyman's youthful voice is a perfect match for this heartwarming, family-oriented inspirational tale by Mike Lupica (Philomel, 2004). Even non-sports fans will find themselves rooting for Danny's underdog team and will be caught up in the realistic descriptions of their games.-Cindy Lombardo, Tuscarawas County Public Library, New Philadelphia, OH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
For a small man, Richie Walker casts a large shadow over his son's life. Danny Walker would like nothing more than to follow in his father's footsteps. When 12, Richie, a 5'10" point guard phenom, led his ragtag Middletown Vikings from Eastern Long Island to the national finals of the Little League Basketball World Series and became the darling of sportswriters around the country. Problem is Danny didn't make his travel team. Too small. But, in a story every bit as exciting and tear-jerking as any novel or movie in its genre-Hoosiers, Mighty Ducks, The Bad News Bears-Danny gets his chance at glory. Lupica, a sportswriter at the New York Daily News, has the knowledge of the game and the lean prose to make this a taut, realistic story not just about the game but about heart, character, and family. A winner. (Fiction. 10+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101200476
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 8/18/2005
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 49,208
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 930L (what's this?)
  • File size: 461 KB

Meet the Author

Mike Lupica


Mike Lupica is one of the most prominent sportswriters in America and is the recipient of the prestigious Damon Runyon Award for excellence in journalism. His longevity at the top of his field is based on his experience and insider’s knowledge, coupled with a provocative presentation that takes an uncompromising look at the tumultuous world of professional sports. Today he is a syndicated columnist for the New York Daily News, which includes his popular “Shooting from the Lip” column, which appears every Sunday.



He began his newspaper career covering the New York Knicks for the New York Post at age 23. He became the youngest columnist ever at a New York paper with the New York Daily News, which he joined in 1977. For more than 30 years, Lupica has added magazines, novels, sports biographies, other non-fiction books on sports, as well as television to his professional resume. For the past fifteen years, he has been a TV anchor for ESPN’s The Sports Reporters. He also hosted his own program, The Mike Lupica Show on ESPN2.



In 1987, Lupica launched “The Sporting Life” column in Esquire magazine. He has published articles in other magazines, including Sport, World Tennis, Tennis, Golf Digest, Playboy, Sports Illustrated, ESPN: The Magazine, Men’s Journal and Parade. He has received numerous honors, including the 2003 Jim Murray Award from the National Football Foundation.



Mike Lupica co-wrote autobiographies with Reggie Jackson and Bill Parcells, collaborated with noted author and screenwriter, William Goldman on Wait ‘Till Next Year, and wrote The Summer of ’98, Mad as Hell: How Sports Got Away from the Fans and How We Get It Back and Shooting From the Lip, a collection of columns. In addition, he has written a number of novels, including Dead Air, Extra Credits, Limited Partner, Jump, Full Court Press, Red Zone, Too Far and national bestsellers Wild Pitch and Bump and Run. Dead Air was nominated for the Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best First Mystery and became a CBS television move, “Money, Power, Murder” to which Lupica contributed the teleplay. Over the years he has been a regular on the CBS Morning News, Good Morning America and The MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour. On the radio, he has made frequent appearances on Imus in the Morning since the early 1980s.



His previous young adult novels, Travel Team, Heat, Miracle on 49th Street, and the summer hit for 2007, Summer Ball, have shot up the New York Times bestseller list. Lupica is also what he describes as a “serial Little League coach,” a youth basketball coach, and a soccer coach for his four children, three sons and a daughter. He and his family live in Connecticut.




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Read an Excerpt

He knew he was small.

He just didn't think he was small.

Big difference.

Danny had known his whole life how small he was compared to everybody in his grade, from the first grade on. How he had been put in the front row, front and center, of every class picture taken. Been in the front of every line marching into every school assembly, first one through the door. Sat in the front of every classroom. Hey, little man. Hey, little guy. He was used to it by now. They'd been studying DNA in science lately; being small was in his DNA. He'd show up for soccer, or Little League baseball tryouts, or basketball, when he'd first started going to basketball tryouts at the Y, and there'd always be one of those clipboard dads who didn't know him, or his mom.

Asking him: "Are you sure you're with the right group, little guy?"

Meaning the right age group.

It happened the first time when he was eight, back when he still had to put the ball up on his shoulder and give it a heave just to get it up to a ten-foot rim. When he'd already taught himself how to lean into the bigger kid guarding him, just because there was always a bigger kid guarding him, and then step back so he could get his dopey shot off. This was way back before he'd even tried any fancy stuff, including the crossover.

He just told the clipboard dad that he was eight, that he was little, that this was his right group, and could he have his number, please? When he told his mom about it later, she just smiled and said, "You know what you should hear when people start talking about your size? Blah blah blah."

He smiled back at her and said that he was pretty sure he would be able to remember that. "How did you play?" she said that day, when she couldn't wait any longer for him to tell.

"I did okay."

"I have a feeling you did more than that," she said, hugging him to her. "My streak of light."

Sometimes she'd tell him how small his dad had been when he was Danny's age. Sometimes not.

But here was the deal, when he added it all up: His height had always been much more of a stinking issue for other people, including his mom, than it was for him.

He tried not to sweat the small stuff, basically, the way grown-ups always told you. He knew he was faster than everybody else at St. Patrick's School. And at Springs School, for that matter. Nobody on either side of town could get in front of him. He was the best passer his age, even better than Ty Ross, who was better at everything in sports than just about anybody. He knew that when it was just kids-which is the way kids always liked it in sports-and the parents were out of the gym or off the playground and you got to just play without a whistle blowing every ten seconds or somebody yelling out more instructions, he was always one of the first picked, because the other guys on his team, the shooters especially, knew he'd get them the ball.

Most kids, his dad told him one time, know something about basketball that even most grown-ups never figure out.

One good passer changes everything.

Danny could pass, which is why he'd always made the team.

Almost always.

But no matter what was happening with any team he'd ever played on, no matter how tired he would be after practice, no matter how much homework he still had left, this driveway was still his special place. Like a special club with a membership of one, the place where he could come out at this time of night and imagine it up good, imagine it big and bright, even with just the one floodlight over the backboard and the other light, smaller, over the back door. His mother had done everything she could to make the driveway wider back here, even cutting into what little backyard they had the summer before last. "I told them you needed more room in the corners," she said. "The men from the paving company. They just nodded at me, like corners were some sort of crucial guy thing."

"Right up there with the remote control switcher for the TV," Danny said. "And leaving wet towels on the bathroom floor."

"How are the corners now?"

"Perfect," he said. "Like at the Garden."

He had just enough room in the corners now, mostly for shooting. He didn't feel as if he was trying to make a drive to the basket in his closet. Or an elevator car. He had room to maneuver, pretend he really was at the real Garden, that he was one of the small fast guys who'd made it all the way there. Like Muggsy Bogues, somebody he'd read up on when one of his coaches told him to, who was only 5-3 and made it to the NBA. Like Tiny Archibald and Bobby Hurley and Earl Boykins, a 5-5 guy who came out of the basketball minor leagues, another streak of light who showed everybody that more than size mattered, even in hoops.

And, of course, Richie Walker.

Middletown's own.

Danny would put chairs out there and dribble through them like he was dribbling out the clock at the end of the game. Some nights he would borrow a pair of his mother's old sunglasses and tape the bottom part of the lens so he couldn't see the ball unless he looked straight down at it. This was back when he was first trying to perfect the double crossover, before he even had a chance to do it right, his hands being too little and his arms not being nearly long enough.

Sometimes he'd be so dog tired when he finished -- though he would never cop to that with his mom -- he'd fall into bed with his clothes on and nearly fall asleep that way. "You done?" she'd say when she came in to say goodnight.

"I finally got bored," he'd say, and she'd say with a smile,

"I always worry about that, you getting bored by basketball."

Everybody he'd ever read up on, short or tall, had talked about how they outworked everybody else. Magic Johnson, he knew, won the championship his rookie season with the Lakers, scored forty-two points in the final game of the championship series when he had to play center because Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was hurt, then went back to East Lansing, Michigan, where he was from, in the summer and worked on his outside shooting because he'd decided it wasn't good enough.

Tonight, Danny had worked past the time when his mom usually called him in, not even noticing how cold it had gotten for October. Worked underneath the new backboard she'd gotten for him at the end of the summer. Not the only kid in his class with divorced parents now. Not the smallest kid on the court now. Just the only one. He'd drive to the basket and then hit one of the chairs with one of his lookaway passes. Or he'd step back and make a shot from the outside. Sometimes, breathing hard, like it was a real game, he'd step to the free throw line he'd drawn with chalk and make two free throws for the championship of something.

Just him and the ball and the feel of it in his hands and the whoosh of it going through the net and the sound one of the old wooden school chairs would make when he tipped it over with another bounce pass. He knew he was wearing out another pair of sneakers his mom called "old school," which to Danny always meant "on sale." Or that she had found his size at either the Nike store or the Reebok store at the factory outlet mall about forty-five minutes from Middletown, both of them knowing she couldn't afford what Athlete's Foot or Foot Locker was charging for the new Kobe sneakers from Nike, or Iverson's, or McGrady's. Or the cool new LeBron James kicks that so many of the Springs School kids were wearing this year.

He finished the way he always did, trying to cleanly execute the crossover-and-back five times in a row, low enough to the ground to be like a rock he was skipping across Taylor Lake. Five times usually making it an official good night out here.

Except.

Except this was as far from a good night as he'd ever known.

Basically, this was the worst night of his whole life.

Danny's mother, Ali, watched him from his bedroom window on the second floor, standing to the side of the window in the dark room, trying not to let him see her up here, even though she could see him sneaking a look occasionally, especially when he'd do something fine down on the court, sink a long one or make a left-handed layup or execute that tricky dribble he was always working on.

Sometimes he'd do it right and come right out of it and be on his way to the basket, so fast she thought he should leave a puff of smoke like one of those old Roadrunner cartoons.

God, you're getting old, she thought. Did kids even know who the Roadrunner was anymore?

"Nice work with that double dribble," she'd tell him sometimes when he finally came in the house, tired even if he'd never admit that to her.

"Mom, you know it's not a double dribble. This" -- showing her on the kitchen floor with the ball that was on its way up to his room with him -- "is a double crossover."

"Whatever it is," she'd say, "don't do it in the kitchen."

That would get a smile out of her boy sometimes.

The boy who had cried when he told her his news tonight. He was twelve now. And never let her see him cry unless he took a bad spill in a game or in the driveway, or got himself all tied up because he was afraid he was going to fail some test, even though he never did.

But tonight her son cried in the living room and let her hug him as she told him she hoped this was the worst thing that ever happened to him.

"If it is," she said, "you're going to have an even happier life than I imagined for you." She pushed back a little and smoothed out some of his blond hair, spikey now because he'd been wearing one of his four thousand baseball caps while he played.

"What do I always tell you?" she said.

Without looking up at her, reciting it like she was helping him learn his part in a school play, Danny said, "Nobody imagines up things better than you do."

"There you go."

Another one of their games.

Except on this night he suddenly said, "So how come you can't imagine a happier life for us now?"

Then got up from the couch and ran out of the room and the next thing she heard was the bounce of the ball in the driveway. Like the real beat of his heart.

Or their lives.

She waited a while, cleaned up their dinner dishes, even though that never took long with just the two of them, finished correcting some test papers. Then she went up to his room and watched him try to play through this, the twelve-year-old who went through life being asked if he was ten, or nine, or eight.

Ali saw what she always saw, even tonight, when he was out here with the fierce expression on his face, hardly ever smiling, even as he dreamed his dreams, imagining for himself now, imagining up a happy life for himself, one where he wasn't always the smallest. One where all people saw was the size of his talent, all that speed, all the magic things he could do with a basketball in either hand.

No matter how much she tried not to, she saw all his father in him.

He was all the way past the house, on his way to making the right on Cleveland Avenue, when he saw the light at the end of the driveway, and saw the little boy back there.

He stopped the car.

Or maybe it stopped itself.

He was good at blaming, why not blame the car?

What was that old movie where Jack Nicholson played the retired astronaut? He couldn't remember the name, just that Shirley MacLaine was in it, too, and she was going around with Jack, and then her daughter got sick and the whole thing turned into a major chick flick.

There was this scene where Nicholson was trying to leave town, but the daughter was sick, and even though he didn't care about too much other than having fun, he couldn't leave because Shirley MacLaine needed him.

You think old Jack is out of there, adios, and then he shows up at the door, that smile on his face, and says, "Almost a clean getaway."

He used to think his life was a movie. Enough people used to tell him that it was. He parked near the corner of Cleveland and Earl, then walked halfway back up the block, across the street from 422 Earl, still wondering what he was doing on this street tonight, cruising this neighborhood, in this stupid small small-minded town.

Watching this kid play ball.

Mesmerized, watching the way this kid, about as tall as his bad hip, could handle a basketball.

Watching him shoot his funny shot, pushing the ball off his shoulder like he was pushing a buddy over a fence. He seemed to miss as many shots as he made. But he never missed the folding chairs he was obviously using as imaginary teammates, whether he was looking at them when he fired one of his passes. Or not.

Watching the kid stop after a while, rearrange the chairs now, turning them into defenders, dribbling through them, controlling the ball better with his right hand than his left, keeping the ball low, only struggling when he tried to get tricky and double up on a crossover move.

The kid stopping sometimes, breathing hard, going through his little routine before making a couple of free throws. Like it was all some complicated game being played inside the kid's head.

He hadn't heard anybody coming, so he nearly jumped out of his skin when she tapped him on the shoulder, jumping back a little until he saw who it was.

"Why don't you go over?" Ali said.

"You shouldn't sneak up on people that way."

"No," she said, "you shouldn't sneak up on people that way."

"I was going to call tomorrow," he said.

"Boy," she said, "I don't think I've ever heard that one before."

Ali said, "You can catch me up later on the fascinating comings and goings of your life. Right now, this is one of those nights in his life when he needs his father, Rich. To go with about a thousand others."

Richie Walker noticed she wasn't looking at him, she was facing across the street the way he was, watching Danny.

"Why tonight in particular?"

"He didn't make travel team," she said now on the quiet, dark street. "Your travel team."

"Look at him play. How could he not make travel?"

"They told him he was too small."

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Interviews & Essays

An Interview with Mike Lupica

Mike Lupica, newspaper columnist, TV sports commentator and author, tackles the themes of sports and children in his first novel for young adults, Travel Team. Lupica, who has also coached basketball and Little League teams, looks at the world of young kids playing team sports and offers his own wisdom and experience about competing.

You've been very successful writing novels about the world of sports. What drew you to write a novel for young adults?

ML: I wanted to write a book my sons -- and my daughter, someday -- could not only read, but enjoy. I have coached all my sons in both basketball and baseball, and it was a chance to share something with readers that came out of that shared experience. People have remarked how much I respect the kids in this book, especially Danny and Ty and Tess and Will. But their spirit comes from the spirit of my children, their dialogue comes from my dinner table, and from my world. The instant messaging language in the book came from my own kids. And I once started a travel team for a bunch of kids who wouldn't have had a chance to have a basketball season if we didn't give it a shot. And it turned out to be one of the great experiences of my life.

Despite his skill as a player, Danny your young protagonist has failed to make it to his town's basketball team because of his height. Could this really happen to a young and gifted player in preference for someone less talented than Danny, but taller?

ML: Sure. The parents who pick the teams in youth sports aren't Larry Brown, or Phil Jackson, or Doc Rivers. They're parents. It's all so subjective. Could a bigger kid get picked over a smaller kid who's better? I believe it happens a lot. But this isn't just a book about being small. It's about being told you're not good enough. And that happens way too often in youth sports.

Your parental characters embody strong archetypes. Danny's mother is the strong, independent, single mother who always does the right thing. Danny's father, a star athlete in school, has not been a successful adult and certainly not a good father. Mr. Ross is the overbearing power in the town. Is there a lesson to be learned from these characters?

ML: Charles Barkley once said that he wanted to get the message out that coming from a single-parent home doesn't have to be a death penalty. It's not. Danny's mom is just a wonderful character, one of my heroes in the book. One of the reasons why Danny's as strong as he is is because his mother is as strong as she is. The father is a wounded figure who stands up in this book, even after he is wounded again. And Mr. Ross is like a lot of guys you see in Little League: He's a good person who forgets the games are about the kids, not about him.

You have placed a girl character, Colby, in a basketball team of boys. Why? Are girls infiltrating boys' team sports today?

ML: I sure hope so. Nobody better tell my daughter that she can't play with the boys, not in an Annika and Michele Wie world. But I have to tell you, my son Alex is the one who gave me Colby. He was reading -- and writing -- the book along with me. Chapter by chapter. He came in one night, very serious, and said, "Dad, there should be a girl on the team." When Alex tells you something in that tone, with that face, you know he's right. And he was. It made the Warriors even cooler.

Some of the kids in Travel Team are really nasty. As a coach, how would you deal with this type of kid, especially if he or she was a great athlete?

ML: I would sit him down if he was on my team and tell him that one of the reasons I coach is because I want kids to learn to do things the right way in sports. There is a way to play the game and a way to behave. If it was somebody else's player, I would tell the other coach. Or the ref. Rude behavior is intolerable at any age level. I tell my kids before every Y basketball game: "We talk to our own team, not the other team. We don't talk to the ref. We never talk trash. And one more thing: The ref doesn't care what you think. Not a single call in the history of basketball has been changed because you smart-mouthed the ref, or gave him a nasty look."

How can a parent realistically help their child with the disappointment of rejection from a team?

ML: Tell them things they don't want to hear, but happen to be true. It WILL make them stronger, once the hurt wears off. It's only sports. No one has said they're a bad person, or a bad child, or a bad friend, or brother or sister. They just said you didn't make the team. BUT, and this is a BIG but, I believe there should always be a team somewhere for kids to play. The year I started my travel team, 18 kids at the age of 12 were told they weren't good enough. In soccer, they would just make another team. Not basketball. For one season, a group of parents that included me was able to rectify that.

Often parents get too wrapped up in the success of their children and it becomes a problem. What limits should parents set for themselves without becoming over-involved with their children's sporting activities?

ML: Make sure they understand this: Their child's dreams are not necessarily their dreams. And that they probably aren't raising the next Barry Bonds, or Michael Jordan, or Tom Brady. When I first coached a Y team, of 8-year olds, I asked my best friend, Paul Westphal, what I should tell them. He is a former NBA All-Star, and has coached the Phoenix Suns, Seattle Supersonics, and is now coaching Pepperdine University. He told me my coaching plan was as simple as could be:

"Tell them to have fun. That's the most important thing. Tell them that if they're open, shoot it. And if somebody else is more open, pass the ball and let him shoot."
I said, "That's it?"
He said, "That's it."

Every kid who gets me for a second season can recite that word for word. I told Red Auerbach about my three-point coaching plan once and he said, "Add one more." I asked him what. The old man laughed and said, "Tell them to keep shooting even if they miss."

I tell my kids one other thing before every baseball and basketball game I coach, and it is this: "There's not a parent who'll be at this game today who wouldn't rather be playing."

Is there more pressure for kids to succeed in sports with their parents now than ever before?

ML: Yes. Because parents confuse involvement with being the kind of dumb, overbearing coaches I see in the big leagues all the time. Too many of them think they're Bill Parcells.

You've coached basketball and Little League teams. What's the worst kind of behavior you've witnessed from the parents and the kids?

ML: I see coaches yelling at the umps and refs. I see coaches, in front of the kids, having to be restrained. I see coaches who bring their star pitcher back in to get one out in a big situation. Believe me, I've seen it all. I once saw 2 dads coming running at each other from opposite sides of a soccer field like they were a couple of bumper cars. Don't get me started.

And having told you that, the guys who do that are an incredibly small minority. Most of the coaches with whom I deal have the same values about sports I do. They realize it's about the kids, they realize they're not trying to win the Lombardi Trophy or the Stanley Cup, they're smart enough to know that an hour after the game ends, most of the kids can't tell you what the final score was.

Are today's school sports programs working at creating students who are good scholars as much as they are good athletes?

ML: I sure hope so.

What is important about involving kids in sports when they are very young?

ML: They can learn the good parts. They can learn about joining together for the common good. About teamwork. And friendship. And swallowing pride. And fitting your own ego in with others'. Mostly, they can learn the greatest thrill of sports: Doing something, as a group, you didn't think you could ever do. When that happens, sports gets in your heart and never gets out.

Should every child be given a place on a team, no matter what their level of talent? Which is more important, the child or the team?

ML: Listen. There's a reason why they keep score in sports. I tell my kids, hey, I want you to win. The other team wants to win. But anybody who has watched me on a basketball sideline knows the biggest thrill I get is when the kid I don't think will score all season gets a hoop. Heaven.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 229 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(153)

4 Star

(40)

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(15)

2 Star

(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 230 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    Mike Lupica's Travel Team is a novel for any and all sports lovers. The book begins with Richie Walker in a car accident and that event affects the whole entire family. Danny Walker steps up to the plate and decides to take hold of his team and lead them through the rough times. Mike Lupica's book is a book that some readers might have troubles putting the book down. The novel teaches values more important that just leading your basketball team, it teaches how to gain responsibility even at a young age and that anyone can be a leader. Danny Walker is a great example of being called small and showing that being small isn't what is inside of him. Great Book!!

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2012

    No one knows how much heart this kid has. Danny is the shortest

    No one knows how much heart this kid has. Danny is the shortest kid at his age of 12. He tries out for Middletown’s travel boys’ team. Yet he didn’t make he didn’t make it because of his height. So his father Richie Walker decides he was going to make a second Middletown travel boys’ team. Anyone at the right age could try out. Now after a few weeks of practicing for both teams they decided to have a scrimmage instead of practice for one night. So after a couple quarters, something astonishing happens. Both Danny and the point guard for the other travel team both go up for a rebound. Except Danny accidently pushes him a little too hard and he takes a nasty fall. Read more to find out what happens.
    This book as to be one of the best books I ever read. It’s full of heart, tragedies, and just plain fun. I would recommend to anyone who has a dream of becoming something nobody thinks you can. Also for anyone who as an interest in basketball this book would be a great book for u to read. This book is also full of suspense. So anyone who likes suspense and a really good realistic fiction book this book is for you.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2012

    Great

    Im in the middle of the book right now but the auther gave alot of detail so its really exciting. This book is GREAT!!!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2012

    Awesome

    I love this book i totally recomend it if ur a bball fan!!! :D

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2012

    This book is about a guy named Danny and he is in 7th grade. He

    This book is about a guy named Danny and he is in 7th grade. He tried out for the 7th grade travel team, but he didn't make it because he was too short. His dad, who has a drinking problem, came into town and after hearing this decided to make his own team with the other kids who didn't make the travel team. The book talks about the struggles that go on through the team and it shows the progress of the Warriors starting as a bad team to them finally winning the championship. I liked the book on some of the things that go on and how many kids these days have to go through things like that. I didn't like how predictable it was though. I would recommend this book mainly to people between the ages of 10- 15ish.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2012

    GREAT BOOK

    Oustanding book. You will laugh you will cry and i promise you will love this book

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2012

    Loved this book!

    This was a really good book. Maybe some girls would look at it and not understand some stuff, but I'm a girl and I understood it. Anyways, it is a really good book. Buy it.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2012

    In the exciting book Travel Team by Mike Lupica it talks about a

    In the exciting book Travel Team by Mike Lupica it talks about a long time whose dream is to become a player on the school team. Follow on his journey to become a great player. This has to be one of Mike Lupica’s best books EVER. I THINK THAT Mike Lupica put a lot of time into this book it is good big time.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2012

    Travel team

    Very good book!!!!!!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2011

    wonderful for any1!!!

    if u r a boy or girl looking 4 a great sports book.... this is defs the book 2 choose!!!! i also think that if u r interested in baseball u shud read heat by mike lupica. it is defenitly a good read!!!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2012

    Smoke 101

    What a very long overview

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2012

    Bh

    Very good

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2011

    mike lupicas books and how good they are.

    If you like sports this would be the book for.PS you should also read a nother book called heat by Mike Lupica.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2014

    #1(vote)

    Annabeth

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2014

    Oddest thing ever!!!

    The overveiw is 39 little pages long

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2014

    Ok book

    Kind of wierd but ok

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2014

    Poop

    Poop

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2013

    SCARY!!!!!!

    OMG while i was reading thhiss book, on chapter 16 it was very scary. I pooped in my diaaper and all over the walls. Some got on my mom while she was changing my diaper and most of it got on my nook. I am 17 years old and i wss still very scared. Now my butt is greenish brown and i am angry at mike lupica for this!!!!!!!!!!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2013

    Best sports book ever!!!!

    Travel ball is awesome an underdog story

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2012

    Awesome

    Awesome book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 230 Customer Reviews

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