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Mike Lupica scores from downtown with his Comeback Kids series.
Praise for the Comeback Kids:
“Lupica portrays the action clearly and vividly, with a real sense of the excitement and unpredictable nature of the games. These are worthy additions to collections seeking to draw in middle-grade boys with an enthusiasm for athletics.” –School Library Journal
“These should score big with middle-graders looking for alternatives to Matt Christopher's titles.” –Publisher’s Weekly
“This title is a good choice for reluctant readers with a background in baseball.” –School Library Journal
There were a lot of bad parts that came with being the new kid.
Scott Parry was already used to eating by himself at lunch, having nobody to talk to yet at recess.
And after just four days in the sixth grade at Bloomfield South, he pretty much expected to be sitting by himself on the short bus ride home.
He had always been shy, even in his old school, in his old town. And in the school and town before that. He just hadn’t realized that his new school was going to be this shy back.
It wasn’t that Scott wasn’t trying to fit in.
When they broke off into discussion groups, he tried to get with a new group of kids every time, hoping that at least one of them might want to talk to him when they were finished. And he knew better than to raise his hand every single time he knew the answer in class. But that was hard for him, because he basically knew the answer to any question his teachers asked.
It had been the same way for him at all his schools.
Sometimes he wished he weren’t so smart, because it seemed to make the other kids mad. What he really wanted was to be a little less good in class and a lot more good at sports, football especially. But that’s not the way things had worked out for him.
He knew teachers always liked the smart kids better, despite how they tried to act like they were treating every student the same. But he didn’t want the teachers to like him. He wanted the other kids to like him. Girls or boys. So he tried not to act like he was showing off, even though his hand still shot up more than anybody else’s in sixth grade.
It’s true that Scott felt alone most of the time, like he was hiding in plain sight, but he knew he could handle being the new kid one more time. What he couldn’t handle was what happened to him every single day while he waited for the bus home.
Because Jimmy Dolan, one of the biggest kids in his class and easily the meanest, was always waiting, too. Which meant that Jimmy had plenty of time to rag on Scott every day.
Scott wanted kids at Bloomfield South to talk to him.
Just not this kid.
The only kid in the whole school that Scott didn’t want talking to him or hanging with him wouldn’t leave him alone.
“Hey,” Jimmy Dolan said now, “here comes the brain.”
Just by watching the pickup touch football games at recess—nobody had picked Scott yet, not one time—he knew Jimmy Dolan was a good football player. At recess that day, Scott had overheard a couple of the teachers talking about how Jimmy’s dad was going to be the coach of the sixth-grade town team this season. Mr. Burden, their science teacher, had said, “Maybe his father can control him.” Just then one of the smaller sixth-graders had caught a pass and even though it was supposed to be two-hand touch, Jimmy had managed to send the kid flying.
“I wouldn’t count on that,” Mrs. Graham, their math teacher, had said.
Waiting for the bus now, Scott tried to ignore Jimmy, tried to act as if he were searching for something really important inside his backpack.
But he knew he was wasting his time, that you had about as much chance of ignoring Jimmy Dolan as you did a stomachache.
“What’s the matter, brain? You don’t want to talk to me today?”
Scott had his backpack on the ground and was kneeling over it. But Jimmy was right over him, blocking out the sun like a giant black cloud.
Scott leaned to his right a little, trying to see past Jimmy’s legs, hoping the buses were starting to board.
“What’re you looking for in there?” Jimmy said. “Maybe I can help you.”
“No,” Scott said. “I’m fine.”
Jimmy reached down and scooped up Scott’s backpack like he was trying to beat him to a dollar he’d seen on the ground. And before Scott could do anything to stop him, Jimmy had dumped everything out on the ground.
Scott didn’t care about any of the school stuff in there, his pens and notebooks and textbooks, so much stuff that his mother always asked if he was carrying bricks.
None of that mattered.
The picture mattered.
The picture of Scott’s dog, Casey. Jimmy Dolan spotted it right away.
Scott tried to reach down and grab it, but once again Jimmy was too quick for him.
“Who’s this?” Jimmy said. “Your girlfriend?”
“Give it back,” Scott said, quieter than he wanted to.
“You carry a picture of your dog with you, brain?” Jimmy said, loud enough for every kid still waiting for a bus to hear. “That’s like something the little nerd in that Lassie movie would do, right?”
Scott felt like this was some kind of assembly now, and he and Jimmy were up on stage in front of the whole school. If the other kids at Bloomfield South didn’t know the new kid before this, they sure would now.
If I’m such a brain, Scott thought, how come I can’t think of a way to get myself out of this?
As a last resort, he actually tried being nice, as hard as that was.
“Can I please have my picture back?” he said.
Jimmy smiled and shook his head no, waving the picture back and forth in front of Scott’s face.
Scott lunged for it, trying to catch Jimmy by surprise.
Only he wasn’t big enough. Or quick enough.
As he landed, Jimmy stuck out a leg and tripped him, giving him a little shove on the way down for good measure.
Scott went down hard, landing on knees and elbows.
All he could hear now was laughter.
Until he heard this: “Cut it out, Dolan.”
Not a teacher’s voice. Not a voice belonging to any grown-up. A kid, definitely.
Scott picked himself up and saw that it was Chris Conlan.
You only had to be at Bloomfield South for one day to know that even though Jimmy Dolan was one of the bigger football players in the sixth grade, Chris Conlan was the best.
Chris Conlan wasn’t just the quarterback, he was the boy all the other boys in their class wanted to be.
“What’s the problem, Chris? I was just playing—”
“Give him back his picture.”
Scott could see by the look on Jimmy’s face how much he didn’t want to back down. “Why’re you standing up for him?” Jimmy said, sounding whiney all of a sudden. “You don’t even know this guy.”
“I know you, though,” Chris said. “And I know you’re acting like a tool. Now, for the last time, give him back his picture.”
And, to Scott’s amazement, Jimmy Dolan did just that.
I read this with my nine year old son, and we both really enjoyed it. It is a great story not just about football, but about friendship, as well. The two boys each use their talents to help the other succeed. Fun story and great ending!
9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 3, 2007
This is an awesome book to read. It has a great message about the meaning of friendship. I connected with Chris Conlans character who has dyslexia because every student struggles in school sometimes. I thought it was great that even though Scott got injured playing football. He stuck stuck with it because of his 'cool' friend Chris. It ended up paying off BIG! I would recommend this book for kids my age.
4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 16, 2010
Have you ever been the new kid? Have you ever felt like you are unliked? Scott Parry is the new kid at the school and no one really knows or likes him yet, that's about to change! One day he is at the bus stop when the bully; Jimmy Dolan, comes to pick on Scott. Scott always carries around a picture of his dog. So Jimmy steals the picture from Scott, which upsets him very much. Then, Chris one of the "cool" football players comes to stick up for Scott. He tells Jimmy to give back the picture, and so he does. That is how Chris and Scott become friends. Ever since, they started to hang out and play football together with their dogs in Scott's, backyard.
Scott is a very good kicker but he has never tried out for the football team. Scott practices every day on kicking the ball. He even has field goal posts in his backyard. Scott and Chris play in his backyard. Chris found out that Scott is a very good kicker and Chris told Scott to join the team and he decided that he would. But Scott is really bad at playing every position in football besides kicker, and he knows that. He was very ashamed at the end of the first practice because he was not good at anything. But he decided to stay on the team throughout the season even though he was beat down every practice and didn't play in any of his games.
Then, during the middle of the season, Chris decided to tell Scott his biggest secret.
"Now all you've gotta do is tell me what the problem is," Scott said. "Reading or being on the team?" "Both" Then he tried to explain to Scott about dyslexia. And how it could drag him down from behind better than any tackler in football.
But, Scott is very smart and they are best friends. So Scott decides to help Chris in school. They started to study daily so that Chris can stay in football. Scott does a very good job as a tutor gets Chris to start getting good grades and is able to stay in football.
When their team is in the game before the championship, they are practicing and Scott gets tackled and breaks his wrist. They all knew that he would be out for the championship game. But on the day of the big game; Chris comes over and tells Scott to get ready to go to the game. Scott was very hurt but he decided to go to the game because he knew that he wouldn't play at all anyway.
He was right. He sat on the sidelines the whole game. But then it was down to the last seconds of the game and they were losing. They were going to just throw it to the end zone and hope for a touchdown. But Chris came over to the sideline and told Coach Dolan how Scott is a very good kicker, and to put him in to dropkick it for the win. Coach Dolan listens to Chris and decides to put in Chris to try to win the game for his team. But Scott was very nervous that he wasn't going to make it. But he still walked on the field hoping he will make it and win the game.
But you will have to read the book to find out the final ending to the book.
3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 1, 2008
Scott Parry, the new kid, is the clumsiest and smartest boy or girl in the sixth grade. Something not so surprising is that he has no friends, but the surprising thing is that he joins the football team! No one knows why he did it, he can't run, throw, catch, block, or tackle. He has one skill, though, that just might have an impact on the most important game of the season! I was caught on like a fish on a hook from the very first page, and would rate it 5 stars. I felt the descriptions for the characters and their expressions were great. This book is awesome, so read it!
3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 6, 2007
One will cheer after reading the short, but heartstring pulling, 'Comeback Kids -Two-Minute Drill' by Mike Lupica. With a high recommendations from Heisman Trophy winner, NFL and CFL quarterback and ESPN commentator, Doug Flutie(who makes an appearance in the fictional story), 'Two-Minute Drill' provides a simple life lesson that even the non athlete will comprehend.Centering around the character of young Scott Parry, 'Two-Minute Drill' takes the reader on a journey of the class 'brain' who lacks a lot of confidence in himself as an athlete, the development of his friendship with star athlete, Chris Conlan, and an overpowering secret that both boys share only with each other-until the dramatic moment of change. Ironically, both boys have some tremendous odds to beat to overcome their individual inadequacies. Sitting down on the couch, I found myself full of a variety of emotions with each turn of the page. Without revealing much, I will say in the end, Scott and Chris validate what psychologist William James once said, 'It is our belief in ourselves and actions that will ensure the successful outcome of our venture.'
3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 19, 2011
I read this book hoping it would be as good as John Feinstein, but it's no where close. John Feinstein books are fun to read and exciting, but Mike Lupica did a horrible job with this book. This book is more about a kid who gets bullied at school than football! I mean it's a good life lesson, but isn't what I was hoping for.
2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 14, 2011
By Mike Lupica
One of my main characters is Scott Parry, the brainiest person in his school. He is eleven years old. His nickname is the brain. He is a great kicker in football, but everything else like hands and throwing power isn't that good. He is also very clumsy and trips over himself.
My other main character is Chris, the best football player in the small town. He is eleven years old too. He is the best QB and can throw at least 30-40 yards. He can't though kick as well as Scott. There's just one problem. He can't read!!!!!!
My plot is the brain (Scott) doesn't have a friend. He meets Chris and they hang around. Then Chris finds out Scott's secret. Chris tells Scott to join the football team and he does. Then later in the year something happens to Scott. Then two unexpecting events happen. If you want to know, read the book.
The setting of my story is at school, Chris's and Scott's house, and two football fields. It's in the present day.
The theme of my story is if you have a talent, then use it. Also if you wait long enough, you'll get your staring moment. Like the movie Rudy.
I loved this book!!! It always kept me on my toes wanting to know what's going to happen next. I also love football so all you football fans, you should read this book.
I can connect to this book because I have played football just like Scott and Chris and I am good at it just like Chris. I can't kick or throw but I can hit and run and catch.
Some other great books are Summer Ball and Travel Team. Other books that sound good are Heat and Million Dollar Throw. They are all by Mike Lupica.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 8, 2008
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Posted March 6, 2015
Two minute Drill is a book about these two boys Scott and Chris who both have something they can’t do and it isn’t easy, Chris has dyslexia. Nobody knew Chris had dyslexia. Chris is also the quarter back of the Eagles (school mascot). Scott is the brainy kid in the class, this kid Jimmy Dolan calls Scott the “brain.” Scott wants to know how to play football. So Scott helps Chris with school and Chris with football.
I think Two Minute Drill is an amazing book for football fans. Mike Lupica did an astounding job writing this book, this shows that you can never be good at something if you don’t try.
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Posted December 22, 2012
Very good book. I loved the ending. I live in new england and i am a HUGE pats fan, so, i love last minute victories with feild goals. It was a little short but i loved it. Go mike lupica!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.