God on the Starting Line: The Triumph of a Catholic School Running Team and Its Jewish Coach

God on the Starting Line: The Triumph of a Catholic School Running Team and Its Jewish Coach

by Marc Bloom


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“It captures the deeper joy of watching young athletes embrace unfashionable ideals of commitment, sacrifice, courage, and faith.”—Sports Illustrated

“Marc Bloom coaches as every coach in the sport should. I recommend this book without reservation. Read it, commit it to memory, and you will be better for it.”—American Track & Field

“At its core a spiritual book. It will inspire the reader who values small works of goodness and the courage to face big challenges.”—Jewish Book World

“More than a story of different religions, Jewish and Catholic, meeting on the cross-country course. There is an even more eternal struggle: old versus new. Bloom preaches the value of pain, hard work, suffering, and delayed gratification. His cross-country kids are, well, kids. They want to have fun, chase girls, and enjoy the loosey-goosey life. In Bloom’s inspiring tale, both coach and kids learn surprising lessons from each other.”—Amby Burfoot, executive editor of Runner’s World

Marc Bloom, an observant Jew, winds up the coach of a local Catholic high school cross-country team. The common ground he finds between the two faiths helps to propel his team to a state championship.

Marc Bloom, an award-winning journalist, is a features writer for The New York Times and a contributing editor of Runner’s World.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781891369742
Publisher: Breakaway Books
Publication date: 11/01/2007
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Marc Bloom, an award-winning journalist, is a features writer for The New York Times and Contributing Editor of Runner's World.

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God on the Starting Line: The Triumph of a Catholic School Running Team and Its Jewish Coach 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
KevinJoseph on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cross-country is the Rodney Dangerfield of sports in many high schools, overshadowed by the soccer craze and derided as a fall-back for those unable to make the cut in the glamour sports. If more people read "God on the Starting Line" they might see this sport for what it is: a demanding test of willpower, pain tolerance and team cohesiveness played out in a natural setting. As Marc Bloom illustrates through this vivid depiction of his undermanned squad's break-through season, cross country is completely at odds with the pressures and temptations faced by today's adolescents in our video-game, fast-food culture. It's his ability as a coach to connect with these kids and instill a desire to rise above the ordinary that makes this simple story such a triumph. The author, in his exuberance to connect with the reader and in his meditations on the larger meaning of running, lapses into a series of seemingly random associations in some passages that break up the training and race descriptions. Yet those with the patience to follow his train of thought through these interludes may come away convinced that the purification-by-pain and honest living demanded by cross-country running do indeed bring both coach and athlete closer to the divine. -Kevin Joseph, author of "The Champion Maker"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful story that would certainly make a great movie. It definitely has all the elements necessary: a main plot and little side stories that are very important to the big picture. The author¿s strength is displayed as a magnificent coach, friend, and teacher, but it¿s his spirituality that plays a huge part in the team¿s building to where they mature and become winners. His Jewish Faith combined with the team¿s Catholic Faith show the Higher Force as what He really is: The all-loving and caring God. There are life lessons to be learned from this book. Plus, it¿s a delightful read! You¿ll love it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book both from the perspective of a HS XC runner and a coach (although adults, not HS). Writing was sometimes a little slow, but overall good read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
God on the Starting Line is a highly satisfying and inspirational account of a cross-country coach's ability to cross a religious divide and motivate a group of high school runners to achieve what appeared to be impossible. Serious runners will love this book, and so will fans of inspirational sports stories where the underdog comes out on top.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lot's of fun to read for a former NYC CHSAA Cross Country Runner, Mr. Bloom's reflections of the sixties running scene in New York and bringing it current to the today's state in New Jersey is a must read for anyone who's had the fortune to experience Van Courtlant as a competitor and had his 13 year old son kick his butt through the hills of Holmdel Park (some 35 years later). This is a First Person lesson in faith, life and commitment. Hopefully Mr. Bloom picks up the baton once again and returns to coaching....