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  1. Book Club Discussion: MY LOSING SEASON – Led by Scott Graber.
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Find An Event. Create Your Event. Share this event:. Registration Options. Admission Level. Not Available. These events are free, but advance registration is required and seating is limited. 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.

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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.

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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.

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Coach Thompson also turned it into a disciplinary drill where we ran the figure eights until we were close to dropping. It's not a loaf of bread. Our coach required gestures of submission. 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.

Turn yourself in. It makes him feel better. 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.

My Losing Season by Pat Conroy | Penguin Random House Canada

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.

My Losing Season

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.

My Losing Season

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. The 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.

DeBrosse appeared in all 23 games last season as a guard. He scored 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. See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Read an excerpt of this book! Add to Wishlist. USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly.

Age Range: 14 - 18 Years. Mark Clark, the man who vowed that the Citadel "would have the toughest plebe system in the world. I personally attest that he succeeded admirably Citadel men were expected to provide an unshakable bulwark against the rise of Communism I've yet to meet the Communist who has treated me as abominably as the cadre of our company did my plebe year. It was mind-numbing, savage, unrelenting and base They called the first week 'Hell Week,' and Dante Alighieri could not have coined a more accurate nomenclature. Having endured the Citadel plebe system after receiving similar treatment from his father during his boyhood, and a dispiriting basketball career with an unimaginative coach, Conroy was buoyed by the fact that he "loved nothing on this earth" as much as he did the sport of basketball.

In the end, he has survived to tell us that "there is no teacher more discriminating or transforming than loss Losing prepares you for the heartbreak, setback and tragedy that you will encounter in the world more than winning ever can. By licking your wounds, you learn how to avoid getting wounded the next time. Buy Now, Pay Later. Already a Subscriber? Log In Here.