NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A deeply affecting coming-of-age memoir about family, love, loss, basketball—and life itself—by the beloved author of The Prince of Tides and The Great Santini
During one unforgettable season as a Citadel cadet, Pat Conroy becomes part of a basketball team that is ultimately destined to fail. And yet for a military kid who grew up on the move, the Bulldogs provide a sanctuary from the cold, abrasive father who dominates his life—and a crucible for becoming his own man.
With all the drama and incandescence of his bestselling fiction, Conroy re-creates his pivotal senior year as captain of the Citadel Bulldogs. He chronicles the highs and lows of that fateful 1966–67 season, his tough disciplinarian coach, the joys of winning, and the hard-won lessons of losing. Most of all, he recounts how a group of boys came together as a team, playing a sport that would become a metaphor for a man whose spirit could never be defeated.
Praise for My Losing Season
“A superb accomplishment, maybe the finest book Pat Conroy has written.”—The Washington Post Book World
“A wonderfully rich memoir that you don’t have to be a sports fan to love.”—Houston Chronicle
“A memoir with all the Conroy trademarks . . . Here’s ample proof that losers always tell the best stories.”—Newsweek
“In My Losing Season, Conroy opens his arms wide to embrace his difficult past and almost everyone in it.”—New York Daily News
“Haunting, bittersweet and as compelling as his bestselling fiction.”—Boston Herald
|Publisher:||Random House Large Print|
|Edition description:||Large Print|
|Product dimensions:||6.42(w) x 9.56(h) x 1.48(d)|
About the Author
Pat Conroy (1945–2016) was the author of The Boo, The Water Is Wide, The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline, The Prince of Tides, Beach Music, The Pat Conroy Cookbook: Recipes of My Life, My Losing Season, South of Broad, My Reading Life, and The Death of Santini.
Hometown:San Francisco and South Carolina
Date of Birth:October 26, 1945
Place of Birth:Atlanta, Georgia
Education:B.A.,The Citadel, 1967
Read an Excerpt
Before First Practice
It was on the morning of October 15, 1966, that the final sea-son officially began. For a month and a half, my teammates and I had gathered in the field house to lift weights, do isometric exercises, and scrimmage with each other. Right off, I could tell our sophomores were special and were going to make our team faster, scrappier, and better than the year before. In the heat of September, there was a swiftness and feistiness to the flow of these pickup games that was missing in last year's club. My optimism about the coming season lifted perceptibly as I observed my team beat up on each other in the vagrancy of our uncoached and unmonitored scrimmages.
I could feel the adrenaline rush of excitement begin as I donned my cadet uniform in the dark, and it stayed with me as I marched to mess with R Company. I could barely concentrate on the professors' voices in my classes in Coward Hall as I faced the reality of the new season and stared at the clock with impatience. It was my fourth year at The Citadel and the fourth time October 15 had marked the beginning of basketball practice. Mel Thompson was famous for working his team hard on the first day and traditionally ran us so much that the first practice was topped off by one of us vomiting on the hardwood floor.
I made my way to the locker room early that afternoon because I wanted some time to myself to shoot around and think about what I wanted to accomplish this season. Four of my teammates were already dressed when I entered the dressing room door. The room carried the acrid fragrance of the past three seasons for me, an elixir of pure maleness with the stale smell of sweat predominant yet blended with the sharp, stinging unguents we spread on sore knees and shoulders, Right Guard deodorant spray, vats of foot powder to ward off athlete's foot, and deodorant cakes in the urinals. It was the powerful eau de cologne of the locker room. I realized that my life as a college athlete was coming to its inevitable end, but I did not know that you had to leave the fabulous odors of youth behind when you hurried out into open fields to begin life as an adult.
As I entered the room, I waved to Al Beiner, the equipment manager. He and his assistant Joe "Rat" Eubanks were making sure that the basketballs were all inflated properly. Carl Peterson, another assistant, had just returned with a cartful of freshly laundered towels, still warm to the touch.
"The Big Day," Al said. He was reserved and serious and considered the players juvenile and frivolous. Al's presence was priestlike, efficient.
"Senior year," Rat said. "It all comes together for the big guy this year, right, Pat?"
Joe Eubanks was the only man on campus who called me "the big guy." Five feet five inches tall, he was built with the frail bones of a tree sparrow. His size humiliated him but his solicitousness to the players made him beloved in the locker room. Joe hero-worshiped the players, a rarity at The Citadel. His wide-eyed appreciation of me reminded me of the looks my younger brothers gave me. My brothers thought I was the best basketball player in the world, and I did nothing to discourage this flagrant misconception.
When I began undressing, Carl brought over a clean practice uniform and a white box containing a pair of size 912 Converse All Star basketball shoes. Carl wore gold stars for his brilliant academic work and moved quietly among the players, silent as a periwinkle.
As I sat down to open the new box of shoes, Joe Eubanks slipped up behind me and began massaging my neck.
"Still hurt, Pat?" Joe asked. "It's been two years now." My neck had been sore since Dick Martini knocked me unconscious in a practice game.
Behind me Carl rumbled by with another load for the laundry room. Stepping out of the equipment office, Al warned us not to take our shoes out unless we signed for them. Joe brought a box of tape to Coach Billy Bostick, the mustachioed seventy-year-old trainer who taped Doug Bridges's ankles as Danny Mohr waited his turn.
Jim Halpin sat to my right, struggling to put on the grotesque knee brace which supported his ruined leg.
"Still happy about your choice of colleges, Jim?" I asked.
"This fucking place sucks," Jimmy answered as I knew he would. For four years, all conversation between Jim and me began with this withering mantra.
"Tell me what you really think, Jimmy, don't hold back," I said.
"Conroy, Halpin says the same damn thing every day, year after year," Danny said, sitting at the last locker, both his ankles taped.
"Thanks for pointing that out, Root," Bob Cauthen said.
"Fuck you, Zipper," Danny said, not even looking at Bob. Danny we called "Root" because he was not much of a leaper for a big man and stayed "rooted" on the ground beneath the basket. Bob was called "Zipper" by Danny because he was long and skinny. He was given that name by a heckler from Georgia Southern, and it stuck.
"Don't you love the fellowship on this team?" I said. "Can't you feel the brotherhood? The coming together of a group of guys who can never be broken or defeated?"
"Conroy," said John DeBrosse, unbuttoning his uniform shirt as he approached his locker. "Speak so us poor peasants can understand you. I got to carry a dictionary around to understand what your sorry ass is saying."
"Thank you, Lord, for directing my path toward The Citadel," I said. "I love this place, Lord. I truly love this place. I've found myself a home."
"This fucking place sucks," Jimmy muttered to himself.
"You're onto something, Halpin," Dave "Barney" Bornhorst, a wide-bodied forward from Ohio, said. "Keep working on the details."
Danny said, "I had scholarships to Davidson, NC State, Wake Forest. Do I go to any of those great places? Oh, no. I come to El Cid so I can spend my life with Muleface."
I looked to the door, watching for the sudden appearance of our coach. "Be careful, Danny."
Joe Eubanks came through the locker room. "Twenty minutes to get dressed and on the floor."
"Eat me, Rat," Bob said.
"Don't irritate me, Cauthen," Joe said, putting his tiny fist against Bob's chin.
"Make me laugh, Rat," Bob said.
"Leave Rat alone, Zipper," Danny called down from his locker.
Bob stuck up a middle finger at Danny and said, "Eat a big hairy one, Root."
"What a team," Jimmy Halpin said, shaking his head sadly. "This fucking place sucks."
The new assistant coach, Ed Thompson, came into the locker room and walked down the straight line of lockers, squeezing our shoulders or slapping our butts, whispering words of encouragement. A sweet-faced, soft-spoken man, he looked like an aging Boy Scout as he imparted his own enthusiasm about the beginning of the new season.
"Let's get ready to go, boys. Let's win it all this year. This is the year for us. Can you feel it, boys? Tell me now. Let's get on out there."
After he spoke to each of us, he retreated from the locker room like an ambassador for a third-world nation intimidated by the hauteur of the Court of St. James's. "Little Mel," as we called him, was intimidated by us still and did not feel comfortable interacting with us quite yet.
"Why'd Little Mel take this job?" Danny asked the room.
"He just lucked out," Bridges said.
"What a sinking ship," Bob said.
"Hey, none of that, Cauthen," DeBrosse said. "We're going to have a great team this year. None of this negative shit. Leave that in the barracks."
"Who are you, the fucking Gipper?" Bob answered.
Danny Mohr finished lacing his shoes and said, "I like Little Mel. What in the hell did he see in Muleface?"
"He just wanted to coach All-Americans like you, Mohr," Cauthen said.
"Eat me, Zipper," Danny said, again shooting Bob the finger.
"Can't you feel the team jelling?" I said. "Feel the camaraderie. Feel the never-say-die spirit. Nothing'll ever get between this band of brothers."
DeBrosse said, "Get the dictionary. Conroy's moving his lips again."
Rat appeared suddenly at the door and said, "Muleface left his office. Hurry up. He's on his way."
There was a headlong scramble of all of us as we raced for the door that opened to the floor. The sophomores had not spoken a word. It was their first day on the varsity team and they were nervous and mistrustful.
"This fucking place sucks," Halpin said, then moved out toward the sounds of boys shooting around, limping in his knee brace.
There was a tension in the gym among the players when the first practice was about to begin. We were more serious as we took jump shots, awaiting the appearance of the coaching staff at exactly 1600 hours. DeBrosse hit eight jump shots in a row from the top of the key as I admired the perfection of his form and the articulation of his follow-through. The net coughed as the ball swished through again and again. It was the loveliest sound in a shooter's world. Bridges and Zinsky both practiced long-range jumpers from the corners. Everyone had his favorite spots to get to when shooting around before practice. The managers were feeding all of us retrieved balls as I caught sight of our two coaches, both named Thompson, skirting the bleachers on the way toward the court. Mel was talking quietly to his new assistant, and we wondered aloud if "Little Mel" had any idea what he had gotten himself into. Mohr believed that Mel Thompson was as charming in hiring new assistants as he was when he recruited us.
Coach Mel Thompson blew his whistle, shouted "Two lines," and without fanfare or commentary, our season began. He flipped me the ball and proffered me the honor of making the first layup in the first practice of my final year. A surge of enthusiasm rippled through the team as the line moved smoothly, expertly. One thing a college basketball player could do without thinking or breaking a sweat was to move effortlessly through a layup line. Style was important, and everyone brought his best moves into play during the warmup. The big guys dunked it as we little guys did reverse layups on the other side of the glass. You worked on being cool, disinterested, unflappable. You knew that this period was the last time during the season that the team would not be exhausted. Getting out of bed tomorrow morning would require the forbearance and strength of roommates.
A whistle blew again and Mel shouted, "Figure eights," and we broke up into three lines of four men in a line. I passed the ball to Tee Hooper, the sophomore guard on my left, and ran behind him as Tee threw to Bridges and cut behind him, who threw it to me, cutting behind me as I passed it to Tee, who put it in for a layup. Not once did the ball touch the ground. Coach Thompson also turned it into a disciplinary drill where we ran the figure eights until we were close to dropping. The guys with bad handsalways the big guyshad trouble sometimes handling the long passes and their awkwardness infuriated Mel.
"Catch the goddamn ball," he yelled at Brian Kennedy, a willowy sophomore. "Protect it. It's not a loaf of bread."
"Gee, it's not?" Cauthen whispered. "Why didn't someone tell me?"
"You got something to say, Cauthen?" Coach Thompson barked.
"No, sir," Bob said, lowering his head. Our coach required gestures of submission.
"You still ain't worth a shit, Conroy," DeBrosse teased me, slapping my butt as he ran by me.
"You're shorter than you were last year," I whispered, coming up behind him in the figure eight line.
"I'm a half inch taller than you, duck butt."
In truth, John and I were both very small basketball players, and that's why we were guards. John was prickly and defensive about his height while I was not; I was prickly and defensive about my shooting ability or lack thereof. All athletes disguised the secret shame of their shortcomings. John spent a great deal of time stretching his neck, lifting up, trying to convince himself he was taller than I was. When I was listed as five foot eleven in the program, DeBrosse went wild and said, "Honor violation, Conroy. HV. HV. Turn yourself in."
"I didn't say I was that tall," I said. "Our coach has always pretended I was. It makes him feel better."
"Why?" Johnny said. "You still can't shoot worth a shit."
In the middle of the figure eight drill, I got to study the sophomores up close for the first time. Their speed and athleticism impressed me, but it was their closeness as a class that was most unique. Their freshman team put together a remarkable record. With each game they improved at all positions. They were the first freshman team I had witnessed who did not seem completely undone by the plebe system. By the end of that first year, they had cohered into something very special. I thought they would make The Citadel a team to be feared in the Southern Conference. Even in the layup line and the figure eight drill, they hung together, a team not yet incorporated into our team. Incautious and reckless, they hurled themselves around the court and brought an enthusiasm to this first practice that made me feel a great affection for each of them. So much of our team's destiny rode on their shoulders. So much would be required of them, and no one knew how their egos would withstand the changeable nature of our tempestuous coach.
Years later I read a copy of a program from that year which spelled out this team's prospects in the words of Mel Thompson himself. Though it was still a cautionary tale with loopholes and escape clauses, I read between the lines that our coach was as optimistic about this coming year as I was.
prospects for the season by Coach Mel Thompson.
The 1966-67 season will again find the Bulldogs in a year of rebuilding. First, on a long list of musts, we must find a replacement for Wig Baumann, the team's leading scorer and floor leader. Our success will depend on finding a replacement for Baumann and the ability of our younger players to find their maturity in the early going. Senior Pat Conroy and Junior John DeBrosse appear to have a shot at floor leading the Cadets. DeBrosse appeared in all 23 games last season as a guard. He scored 248 points averaging just over 10 points per game. Conroy appeared in 16 games scoring 74 points for an average of just over 4 points per game. Both boys are excellent ball handlers. Conroy excels in passing and dribbling. DeBrosse is a fine shot. He hit on 49 percent of his shots last year.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Pat Conroy makes me jealous that I did not pursue basketball in high school. His passion for the sport bleeds through the writing in his memoir, My Losing Season. In fewer than four hundred pages, Conroy takes the reader through his life on the basketball court, focusing on senior season on the basketball team at the Citadel. Using varied flashbacks, Conroy does a game by game analysis of his final year on the hardwood. Each of these games follows a simple equation, including: a description of the size and talent of the opposing team, the place that they are playing, the captainship, the halftime speech, and the vain efforts of Mel Thompson to keep Pat from shooting. In the last two hundred and fifty pages, each game uses this combination of descriptions, but it somehow does not get repetitive. A different hero emerges from each game, and one person in particular surfaces as the hero of the Citadel¿s season. I found myself rooting for Pat and the Citadel as I read on. Both Conroy and the military school take on the underdog role both are undersized and do not have the talent to play with much more competitive teams. Instead, both work harder, hustle more, and have more heart than anyone they would face in their disappointing season. Pat Conroy symbolizes the tough, hard-nosed Citadel basketball team, and ultimately emerges as their hero. Only Conroy can write about himself as a hero without appearing to believe that he is above everyone else. He does this by building up unbelievable ethos: a sophomore starts over him for the first few games of his senior season he is the envy of his team as the captain even though he is not a starter, and he is the leader of the ¿greenie weenies¿, the benchwarmers. He quotes his coach, Mel Thompson, at the end of the novel as saying that Pat Conroy: ¿gets more mileage out of his talent than any player I have ever coached¿ (341). Conroy makes this quote especially meaningful by building up Mel as a terrible person throughout the book. Regardless, Pat Conroy¿s memoir gives perspective in the world of basketball to many.
My Losing Season is an introspective look at a critical time period in the life of novelist Pat Conroy. After forty years, few would care, let alone remember, of a losing basketball team at South Carolina's military college of The Citadel. The team lost in the first round of the Southern Conference tournament, its coach was fired a few months after the season ended. The team's anonymity should not be any greater than scores of other teams that fade into the passage of time, falling far short of excellence on the college basketball courts of the nation. Yet this team had one of the greatest novelists that the region ever produced, and one of the more controversial graduates that the school ever graduated in Pat Conroy. This book has been Conroy's only attempt at a book length non-fiction account of his life. Readers familiar with books and movies such as the Great Santini and the Lords of Discipline will quickly recognize the real life characters that the fictional stories were based on. Conroy's real father was in many cases, much, much worse a father and husband than even was portrayed in the Great Santini. The brutalness of The Citadel, admittedly at the height of the Cold War and at a time when the old South was finally passing away, was in many cases much more arbitrary and difficult on an artistic, beat up and sensitive soul such as Conroy. It must have been a difficult job to reimagine the feelings and world view of a 21 year old, thirty years later. In many cases, though it is often remembered as the greatest time of life, the layers of life that get added afterwards bury the freshness and naivety of life beneath years of experience and world weariness. The key to understanding this book is that in many ways, the central character is the voice, the inner perspective that Conroy develops during this time period in his life that allows him to step out from the abused son of a Marine and the victim of a diffident and clueless basketball coach, who really didn't teach his players much. While primarily focused on Conroy's senior as captain of his basketball team, the memoir retells Conroy's entire life up to this point, especially as the observation and empathy skills developed that enabled him to be a writer. The stories of his father's brutality to his family are difficult to read, and due to Conroy's vivid writing, hard to absorb. You should feel empathy as Conroy tells the awkward story of his first real infatuation with a Charleston woman, who just needed a friend. Most of all, the reader should have the opportunity to take away from this memoir the triumph of life to overcome difficult circumstances, to deal with impossible harshness and the first, tentative steps of full adult hood for man. What is remarkable is how self-contained the story is. Much of this narrative takes place during the heat of the Vietnam War, and the radical movements and culture shift that came about as the baby boomers grew up. Conroy himself seems to indicate that he was oblivious to these larger movements, even at a conservative, Southern military college, and did not give them much thought until he was through with school, with protest followed by later shame as he realized the effort that his classmates gave for their country, during a difficult time. My Losing Season is an essential way to understand Conroy's work, and a vital
As much as I enjoy Pat Conroy's fictional accounts of South Carolina and tales of all things coastal, my preference are his forays into non-fiction. This book is a wonderful look at familiar Conroy themes like The Citadel, his dysfunctional relationship with his Marine colonel father, and the whole 'southern mystique' that he examines in each of his novels. In this reflection of his senior season as an undersized and sometimes over-matched college point guard, he examines the relationship dynamics of his teammates and coach and their responses to a disappointing 1966-67 campaign. It is a love story between a young man and a game, as told by an author who can actually convey his feelings for the sport. The individual game stories may make more sense to you if you are a basketball fan, but they are not critical to the overall enjoyment of the book. It is an impressive ode to growing up, letting go, moving on, and finally to reuniting with those who helped shape your journey into adulthood. Impeccably crafted and told in classic Conroy style. Well-worth your time and interesting for any fan of this author's work!
I would have never purchased this book on my own. Our book club selected the book. I admit that I found myself quickly scanning a tad of the basketball blow by blow accounts, but I really enjoyed the balance of the reading. I had taken a college English course that stressed how the past impacts the present, and Pat Conroy certainly proved the value of understanding our past. The book is sweet, emotional, and conveys a great lesson of life.
I'm a huge fan of Conroy's Great Santini, Prince of Tides and, especially, The Lords of Discipline. But his Beach Music was one of my biggest book-reading disappointments ever. So much so that I never intended to read this non-fiction work. But I got it as a gift from my wife, and Mr. Conroy will be happy to know he's back in my good graces. It's a coming-of-age novel in the form of a nonfiction memoir. Keeping it rolling are Conroy's gifts of observation and writing, no doubt. But the big plus are the ... 'interesting' antagonists of this work -- Conroy's abusive father and his cold college basketball coach. Conroy readers know the father from Santini, of course, but Santini proves to have been sanitized. This is one heck of a page-turner, for us basketball fans and for those who simply like a good read.
A raw honest book, where Mr. Conroy exposes the details of a tough childhood, and his inner ability to rebound through sport and literature. A beautiful narritive that glves one insight into ones own life, that helps give meaning to suffering and redemption. I could not recommed this book more highly for anyone who has experienced the pitfalls and triumphs of a life time.
Pat Conroy's A Losing Season was one of the most moving stories of growing up I've ever read. Anyone who has ever participated in athletics - at any level - would benefit from reading this book. As a former athlete, coach's wife, coach's daughter and coach's sister, and mother of high school athletes, I can assure you Mr. Conroy expresses the real meaning behind what competing in athletics means; those life-changing moments that shape our future.
Mr. Conroy loves to play the game of basketball so much that he does it despite constant criticism from his coach, and contempt for any success he has from his father. The lesson is that lack of athletic talent can be overcome by hard work and desire, and costanntly being told that you will be a failure, can serve as a rallying point for the human spirit.
I really enjoyed 'My Losing Season' but I would caution other readers that this book is for people who truly enjoy reading Pat Conroy's style of writing. There is a great deal of basketball talk that goes into great detail. Have participated in competitive athletics, I can relate to this topic and find it interesting but, I don't think this is for everyone. The best part of 'My Losing Season' for me was finding out what is real in the strange Southern drama of Pat Conroy's life. A great book!
Revealing book about Mr. Conroy and what makes him tick. It is written in beautiful, classic Conroy style, so if you enjoy his novels, you should likewise enjoy this memoir. He is hard on himself, and the non-fictional aspect of this book, makes the truth somewhat hard to take, but it lets us see why and how tortured Mr. Conroy was and still is, though he has done a terrific job overcoming his past. This was probably theraputic for him, and should give us all strength to overcome obstacles. My favorite aspects of the book, and if you have read his previous books I would imagine this to be of interest to you, was the insight in the development of his previous novels. He tells you where people, ideas, situations, and stories came from, and they, as we knew, where from real life instances. I just didn't know the depth of how real and impactful they were. This account makes me want to reread his other novels, this time with an insiders eye.
My wife bought me this book for Christmas after seeing Pat on some morning show, and to tell you the truth I didn't plan on reading it soon, or did I think it would be any good, but I absolutely loved it. Being a former college basketball player myself, coach and referee everything the author described brought back many memories of when basketball was simple and fun, not ruined by the ESPN Vitale Headband Long Trunks Self Absorbant Dunks that are the norm today. I loved it so much I bought the audio CD to listen to on long trips. Very accomplished writer describing to us about his fears, his relationship with his father and his wins in life despite the losing season. Most of all it taught about pride and respect which comes from life kicking you down, but you get back up. Awesome
This book is truly is masterpiece. Conroy writes with excitement, fear, intensity, and with the spirit and soul of a talented man. If you enjoy Conroy, this book is the story of how his star basketball career and young childhood make him who he is today. This biography depicts the true childhood of Conroy, from his sweet sixteen days to his horrible days at The Citadel. A classic to cherish and relive!
As a Conroy fan I was very interested in this autobiographical tale of a young man's journey to adulthood. The book captures feelings about a sport and its participants that only those who play or coach can really appreciate. It is very well written. Anyone who reads who is not moved to tears several times has never been a player or a son. Put it on your must-read list.
loved the book as I have every Conroy book - except for The Boo - which doesn't count - great prose, great feeling, great expression - although non-fiction it's hard for me to separate his fiction from his reality - probably more of a guy book because of the bball, Conroy bares his sole (again) and as always,makes the end of the book make me sad because I fear never finding another work as good as the one I have just finished
I was deeply moved by Mr. Conroy's book. I treasured every sentence in his book as his writing style is honest and complete. You do not have to like basketball to enjoy this book. I admire the courage of Mr. Conroy to tell his story. This book makes you think long and hard about your own life and it is another testament that we can become the person we want to be with persistance and thoughtfulness.
For me the book started out as a story of an abused child, the abuser, and the enabler.In the end it was, for me, a magnificant look at both the coping skills of the abused and the great power of the enabler. It ranks with Kramer vs. Kramer, Three Faces of Eve, Ordinary People, I Never Promised You A Rose Garden as one of those special books that can change a reader forever. Once read it cannot be forgotten. Thank you Mr. Conroy for writing this book. I know that it is very possible that you have much more to say in your struggle with cruel fate. You fight with courage,determination,strength,special talent and a grand and singular will to win.
Pat Conroy is one of favorite authors, not just because of his great skill as a writer but also due to his gift of bringing the South Carolina Low Country and its many characters and communities to life. In My Losing Season readers grasp the reality of the constant moves of military families, life as a Catholic school student and athlete, becoming part of a small sea island town like Beaufort, S.C. and the rigors of being a student-athlete AND knob at The Citadel. Throw in the ever-abusing father/nit wit Don Conroy and self-absorbed coach Mel Thompson and the mix is complete. Well, almost. Conroy's research for this book is extensive. At the suggestion of a Citadel teammate during his book signing tour for Beach Music, the author pieces together his senior year of basketball when the Bulldogs (Puppies to those of us who follow Georgia) floundered in an 8-17 season. But as many of us who have been part of a losing season can tell you, there are many victories within a life, even if the record books show otherwise. Conroy creates a masterful blend of locker room chitchat, rivalries and hurt egos allowing readers to become, in essence, part of the team. In Losing season, Conroy, more than any sports story I can remember, includes the team's manager as part of their story; part of their feeling of angst; part of their will to survive under the unwavering ranting of a coach who cannot or will not adjust his coaching style to accomodate the military orientation of The Citadel. The "victory" for these players is not recorded in the scorebook, rather from their ability to play the game, look life in the face and march on in the face of adversity; indeed, a lesson we all need to learn at some point in our lives. The Citadel is not a place for sissies, and neither is life! Conroy dispenses this bit of logic time and again, finally overcoming his father's bullying when the elder Conroy won't accept his son's challenge of a one-one-game after Pat's senior season. Losing Season also touches on the era's most painful subject: Vietnam. In recalling fallen comrades and POW's, Conroy establishes the fact that while The Citadel's many alumni go on to lead lives outside of the military, many more do maintain military careers, sometimes paying the ultimate price. In his efforts to bring many issues to life, and salve wounds to the school created when he wrote The Lords of Discipline, Conroy has prouduced a magnificent work. One that not only displays his love and affection for his teammates but also for his alma mater. After all he, like others who brave the school's harsh plebe system, wears the ring. He polishes it nicely with My Losing Season.
Painful but engaging.
Maby if you play basket ball you are boring$$
My first Pat Conroy. Hope to read The Great Santini that was spoken of in this book. Recommended.
For those that enjoy Pat Conroys ficiton, this book helped me understand his themes. Father son relationships are always hard and this one is no exception. I don't know that I would have the courage to write so honestly about my family.
I got hooked on Pat Conroy way back when and now feel obligated to read anything he writes. This book was a disapointment. His fiction is better.
Pat Conroy¿s My Losing Season is the autobiography of his life as an athlete focusing on his senior year playing basketball at the Citadel during the 1966-67 season. These were the days when the college courts were still dominated by white players and someone who was 6¿4¿ was considered to be tall. Having met the genial and slightly portly Mr. Conroy, who was only 5¿10¿, it was initially hard to visualize the point guard he once was zipping up and down the court. However, his prose captures the drive and passion for the game that possesses ex-players of basketball. Those of us who have never played or been even able to comprehend the sport will be granted the Aha! moment when their eyes will be opened and you will find yourself muttering, ¿Now I understand¿. Conroy has been able to mine the brutality of his upbringing to create a series of bestsellers. My Losing Season shows how those experiences created the man that he is and is an inspiration to those athletes whose love of their game pushes them to exceed their natural abilities.
Too much basketball, and most of the rest has been told in previous books in one form or another. I'm a huge Conroy fan, but I'm not a fan of this book. I found it pretty boring.