❴Reading❵ ➺ The Last Amateurs: Playing for Glory and Honor in Division I College Basketball Author John Feinstein – Peakpopa.info
Once again, John Feinstein turns in a great read I m convinced he can make the year in the life of any sport sound interesting Especially after this book, The Last Amateurs.The Last Amateurs is about a year in the life of the Patriot League for college basketball The seven teams profiled during the 1999 2000 season include Layfayette, Army, Navy, Holy Cross, Lehigh, Colgate and Bucknell Feinstein, much like other great college basketball books like A Season on the Brink, A Season Inside, Last Dance and A March to Madness, describes the college basketball players very well, as if you are in the dorm rooms and weight rooms and gyms with them every week With Army and Navy being in this book, it also felt a lot like Feinstein s best book in my humble opinion , A Civil War Feinstein takes us into the lives of the many student athletes they actually ARE student athletes in this league no scholarships for basketball before the season, during the season and as the season ends in the championship tournament I recommend this book to any fan of college basketball, sports or just John Feinstein I hope he continues to write books, especially on college basketball, for years to come. Funny that nothing has changed in college basketball An interesting and difficult thing to write on because Feinstein had to cover multiple players from seven different teams Some of the writing seemed lazy at times and for about the first 3 4 of the book I still didn t know who was who Good, but not great for me. The back of this book quotes a reviewer as saying, Feinstein makes you care No truer words could have applied to this book As niche as this subject, the 1999 2000 Patriot League Basketball season is, you certainly don t have to be an avid and obsessed fan of college hoops as i am to enjoy this While this is partly due to the subject, its Feinstein s writing that draws you in, and does in fact, make you care Care about the games, the students, the coaches, and past, present and future Feinstein is a highly acclaimed sports writer, and this instalment certainly didn t disappoint Feinstein is a rare writer that could make any subject fascinating, and towards the end of the book, I wanted it to just continue on and on until this moment. I m really struggling with what to write about this book and why it earns a five star rating I enjoy Feinstein s writing certainly, but the story, the subject matter the Patriot League men s basketball circa 1999 2000 , the characters the players and coaches in the Patriot League were not only fascinating but endearing Reading Feinstein s accounts of games, conversations, player meetings and his own particular brand of subtle sarcasm towards big time college basketball left me wanting of the story, the characters, and the writing As a coach and fan of the game of basketball, I thoroughly enjoyed The Last Amateurs. awesome read for all basketball nuts. In a world of college basketball where so many things have turned wrong, the teams in the Patriot League still do things the right way This is their story.these are schools where academics really do count and where when you walk off the court at the end of your senior season, your playing days are over forever. Having listened to an audiobook by the author previously 1 , I was intrigued by the author s humane touch and interest in obscure aspects of sportswriting, and I thought it would be worthwhile to read of the author s somewhat prolific body of work As I have long had a critical view of the NCAA s policies of amateurism and the hypocrisy of elite college conferences concerning the athletes whose talent is the product that these colleges, and everyone else connected in the game, wishes to profit from 2 , I figured this book would provide itself an intriguing and worthwhile perspective Having also written, from time to time, humorous examinations of lovable teams in college basketball 3 , I was hoping that this book would have a sense of humor as well For the most part, these hopes were realized, though not in a necessarily straightforward way.In terms of the organizations and structure of this book, at least, there is something straightforward about the book The book begins at the ending of the 1999 2000 basketball season, examining why the author chose to write about the Patriot League and the contrast between the amateurism of this conference and the semi professional attitude of many NCAA conferences, where school is worked in between the main business of life, basketball After this ending, the book goes to the preseason, giving a personal look at the coaches and players and colleges of the Patriot League in that season, which was made up at the time of seven colleges Lafayette College, Lehigh, Bucknell, Colgate, Holy Cross, Army, and Navy The book then looks, game by game, at how the season progresses for the schools, looking at their rivalries, at the guarantee games they play, at the ups and downs, the locker room conversations at halftime, the petty indignities of having cars towed and the crises of dealing with injuries and family problems, and the struggles of keeping up the love of the game in the midst of life s concerns and pressures The end result is a book that shows an author with a keen eye for detail and dialogue who does a really good job of making the reader care about obscure people they would never have heard of before, a worthwhile achievement.That is not to say, though, that the book is perfect For one, at about four hundred pages, this book is a bit bloated in size given the obscurity of its subject matter, and there are quite a few areas of repetition in the book as well which could have been trimmed Most notably, the book spends a bit too much time speaking about the SAT scores of players in the Patriot League and referring to them over and over again as boards, which is a bit ambiguous, perhaps intentionally so, given the fact that rebounds are also called boards, making the book somewhat ambivalent at times in discussing either the athletic or academic prowess of students in the Patriot League The author also appears to show a bit of politicizing in his discussions of commitment to athletics and the desire to encourage those schools which did not give out any athletic scholarships, which ended up not lasting Even so, despite the failure of that initiative to set a model for other schools, those who appreciate seeing a season in the obscure ranks of college basketball in the Patriot League, where there are never bubble teams except for the CBI or CIT or Vegas 16 tournaments, will find much to enjoy and appreciate in this warm and humanitarian account of college basketball life in the slow lane 1 See, for example 2 See, for example 3 See, for example Before Reading The Last Amateurs by John Feinstein, I had never even heard of the Patriot League and the teams that it consists of I had no clue how these student athletes were living compared to athletes in the power conference The patriot League is a Division I collegiate athletics conference that consists of mid major schools located in the northeastern United States John Feinstein was perfect in showing the lives of athletes and teams in the patriot league He documents the average and hard working lives that these student athletes have Most importantly, He shows how the student athletes are not given any extra luxuries in class or on campus John Feinstein hops from one school to another during the seasons of the late 1990 s telling the stories about the basketball programs and their players.The Last Amateurs follows the basketball teams of Bucknell, Lehigh, Lafayette, Army, Navy, Holy Cross, Colgate, and American University This novel covers the individual lives of each key player throughout the Patriot League The Last Amateurs documents these players live from high school to their current situations Along with the players, this novel documents the coaches lives and their past as well.As the story develops and the setting is set, I began to clearly realize the main theme of the whole novel That even the best college players who are considered amateurs are not truly amateurs They re pampered, given free stuff, all the tutoring they need to maintain an eligible GPA, allowed out of class, and are living with luxurious travel and accommodations The real amateurs are the student athletes of the Patriot League These kids have earned every grade they earned, treated like any other college student, and on the side they play Division I college basketball The in depth look into the history of the coaches is quite intriguing, but the stories about the players experiences are eye opening To hear that a Division I basketball player from the Patriot League has to maintain a high GPA while having to go to class with no exceptions even with an away game is stunning In fact, the priority of these students is school work in which some players even quit the team just to keep good grades.Within each individual story told in The Last Amateurs, they talk of the players passion and drive to practice everyday, even though not one player will have a future in the pros This passion entirely shows that these players work hard for their love of the game, and not just their strive to make money This passion transferred from these players to John Feinstein, as it transferred to the readers of this marvelous book. Like Millions Who Love College Basketball, John Feinstein Was First Drawn To The Game Because Of Its Intensity, Speed And Intelligence Like Many Others, He Felt That The Vast Sums Of Money Involved In NCAA Basketball Had Turned The Sport Into A Division Of The NBA, Rather Than The Beloved Amateur Sport It Once Was He Went In Search Of College Basketball Played With The Passion And Integrity It Once Inspired, And Found The Patriot League As One Of The NCAA S Smallest Leagues, None Of These Teams Leaves College Early To Join The NBA And None Of These Coaches Gets National Recognition Or Endorsement Contracts The Young Men On These Teams Are Playing For The Love Of The Sport, Of Competition And Of Their Schools John Feinstein Spent A Season With These Players, Uncovering The Drama Of Their Daily Lives And The Passions That Drive Them To Commit Hundreds Of Hours To Basketball Even When There Is No Chance Of A Professional Future He Offers A Look At American Sport At Its Purest Lafayette, Lehigh, Bucknell, Colgate, Holy Cross, Army and Navy.Back during the 1999 2000 basketball season, noted sports author John Feinstein took a season long look at the seven schools that comprise college basketball s Patriot League The Last Amateurs is not about your high profile basketball programs with low graduation rates and players who see themselves destined to the NBA Like the Ivy League, the book focuses on players in the Patriot League and its STUDENT athletes note emphasis toward STUDENT Army and Navy as chronicled in Feinstein s A Civil War are two wonderful examples of athletes playing for pride, but with a greater calling once college is complete Army and Navy are well chronicled in other books as well This book takes it step further highlighting how a small Division I college basketball conference focused on grades than on statistics handles the day to day routine in the big time world of college hoops There are stats, there are competitive emotions and there are rivalries typical of any college conference There s also lot of good college hoops found in places like Lewisburg, Worcester and Hamilton People need to understand that while reading this book Feinstein s uncanny approach to learning, living and experiencing the lives of his subjects comes out again in this wonderful book His ability to capture the individual emotions of the coaches, the 17 Class of 2000 seniors, and all the athletes keep you wanting to see how each chapter in the season unfolded For those looking to read something about how a college sports league should be run, this is an excellent read.