Item description for First and Long: A Black School, a White School and Their Season of Dreams by Jr. Lombardi Vince...
In football, coaches will tell you, there are many ways to measure success. There are the statistics, of course, numbers neat and clean. But when lined up on a sheet of paper, numbers can often obscure a season more than capture it. They don't measure the obstacles, how far the team came, how far behind it started. They don't cover any of that, none of that at all.
For some teams, success is about never falling. For others it is about always getting back up. When Messmer, a predominately black Milwaukee high school, and Shorewood, a white suburban high school, decided to field a joint football team, it tested more than just the players' football prowess. This is the story of that season of dreams.
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Reviews - What do customers think about First and Long: A Black School, a White School and Their Season of Dreams?
First and Great Dec 9, 2004
Greg Borowski is truly one of America's great young writers. After reading "First and Long," I felt I had been in the locker room and on the practice field all season long. It's a fascinating and poignant account of two Milwaukee schools close in proximity but worlds apart as players and coaches struggle and grow and struggle some more. Borowski has an amazing eye for detail and a gift for sharing it with the reader. "First and Long" is a terrific story for anyone who loves Friday Night football or who wants insights into American cities today. Can't wait for his next book.
Unique and highly recommended reading for sports enthusiasts Aug 8, 2004
Featuring a Foreword by Vince Lombardi Jr., First And Long: A Black School, A White School And Their Season Of Dreams by Greg Borowski is the inherently fascinating and superbly told story of the first year of the combined Messmer High School/Shorewood High School football team. These two southern Wisconsin schools were almost exact opposites of each other with one being black, private and urban, while the other was white, public, and suburban. First And Long is a story about football, but even more, it is the story of contemporary life and the modern issues of cultural adjustment, racial harmony, and the ideals and idealism of youth as mentored by their imaginative and persevering mentors. Unique and highly recommended reading for sports enthusiasts in general, and Wisconsin highschool football fans in particular!
First an Long -- a Compelling Story Jul 9, 2004
I really enjoyed First and Long, even though I have to say I am not a sports fan. The author is known for his attention to detail, his ability to put a story in context, and his engaging style. All of these really come through in his account of a landmark season for the country's first high school football team formed from a partnership of a central-city Catholic and a suburban public school. Although the two schools are located merely 2 miles from each other, the author shows us how far apart the schools really in so many other ways.
Clearly, countless hours of interviews and observation went into this book. The players really come to life in its pages -- First and Long allowed me to get to know them, and the coaches as well. The glimpses of their lives off the field were every bit as intriguing as the accounts of their work on the field. Intriguing because they didn't fit squarely into one's expectations formed from Hollywood stories of underdog teams facing adversity. This team displayed a different kind of courage, and by the end of the season I wanted to continue following the players beyond the book's final page.
This book reminded me a good deal of "My Losing Season" by Pat Conroy (a excellent look at the author's challenging season playing basketball for The Citadel). I heartily recommend First and Long.
Highly inspirational story Mar 1, 2004
"First and Long" is a must-read for everyone who loves high school football. Greg Borowski gets as close to the gridiron as George Plimpton did. But his story tells so much more: How boys not only from different schools but from such disparate backgrounds forged a team and refused to fail against seemingly insurmountable odds. What's more, this is a story told with a perceptive eye and exquisite detail. See if it doesn't inspire you, too.