[Reading] ➿ The Miracle of St. Anthony: A Season with Coach Bob Hurley and Basketball's Most Improbable Dynasty Author Adrian Wojnarowski – Peakpopa.info
I loved this book, partly because I know the setting, but also because it tells a truly miraculous story Back in the 1980s we lived in Jersey City, just a few blocks from this struggling parochial school where Bob Hurley was already working his magic I m no basketball fanatic, but I was hooked on this saga. This is one of the absolute best non fiction sports books I ve read Right up there with Darcy Freys LAST SHOT or FINAL SHOT I can never remember the title of that one Jersey City, tough school, great coach, great writing. In A City Mired In Endless Decay, Where The Youth Suffer Through All The Horrors Of Urban Blight, Hope Comes In A Most Unassuming Form A Tiny Brick Schoolhouse Run By Two Felician Nuns Where A Singular Basketball Genius Takes Teenagers From The Mean Streets Of Jersey City And Turns Them Into Champions On The Hardcourt Coach Bob Hurley Had Been Working Miracles At St Anthony High School For Over Thirty Years, Winning State And National Championships And Offering His Players Rescue From Their Surroundings Through College Scholarships, When He Met His Most Dysfunctional Team Yet In The Miracle Of St Anthony Adrian Wojnarowski Follows Hurley Through A Gripping And Heartrending Season As He Struggles To Lead A Troubled Team To Glory Through His Unparalleled Understanding Of The Game And His Ceaseless Determination To See No Children Lost To These Streets In The Miracle Of St Anthony, Acclaimed Sports Journalist Adrian Wojnarowski Follows Hurley Through A Gripping And Heartrending Season, As He Struggles To Lead A Troubled Team To Glory Through His Unparalleled Understanding Of The Game And His Ceaseless Determination To See No Children Lost To The City Streets I finished the Miracle of Saint Anthony It really is a great read Detaching myself from whether or not coach Hurley is a nice man, the book itself is an engaging, engrossing chronicle of a year when a bunch of mostly dysfunctional kids did something amazing Because of him, naturally.I guess for someone not living in the US, the chronology of High School life what ages ARE these kids is a bit confusing, as is the logic of what colleges they may go to based on their basketball prowess Plus the expectation that the reader will understand college basketball and on to the NBA is a stretch for non US readers.However, no matter where it s based and how dense the writing, any story about overcoming adversity can be rewarding, and this one certainly is A few observations are inevitable The levels of poverty and hardship these kids cope with is astonishing Most come from dysfunctional homes in Jersey City, they have families without father figures and siblings are in jail, and their only tentative hope is to get out through basketball You have to wonder how their peers who are shorter in stature manage to do this, given that most of the guys in this book are six feet or taller.Also the fact that some are still in High school and already a father is surprising I kept thinking of Michael Lewis The Blind Side where I was less taken by the admittedly positive storyline than the hopelessness of the American Education system for many kids This book tells a similar story.The pacing of the book is great, and the asides about the teaching nuns, and Hurley s own sons are interesting and easy to read As for the man himself maybe he has to be that brutal to the kids to get them to buy into the rigid discipline that he needs to instil It s a warts and all book, and it s better because of that You don t necessarily have to like the guy to respect what he does, and not just on the court You can have great writing about people who are not your ideal and in some ways that s what this book is about The coach is still alive, according to Wikipedia, but the High School closed in 2017 I think this book is a worthy epitaph to what they achieved.It is, as the reviews had suggested, a great sports book and maybe a bit , about success against the odds It s definitely in my top 10 all time sports books, and maybe top three since everything about basketball seems to be based on rankings Worth a read. As inspirational of a sports story as you will ever read Wojnarowski follows around the St Anthony basketball team as they try to find themselves, understand a coach who won t ever let them settle for anything but the best and live in a world that gives them nothing.Coach Bob Hurley understands what it s like living in Jersey City, as he grew up there himself But he also understands that these kids need to get out of Jersey City For them, basketball is the way Hurley is constantly on them, never letting them cut corners or take a day off While some people might be turned off by how Hurley gets his results, the results none the less are very good He motiviates the kids like nobody ever has, and in the end makes them better people for it.Wojnarowski does a very good job telling the stories of Hurley and the two sisters who have kept St Anthony going all these years But also the past lives they have impacted that still comeback to them after all the years Two of the players Sean McCurdy and Marcus Williams probably have the most fascinating stories of the team. I have owned this book for quite some time now and finally decided to give it a read I am so glad I took the time to read It was a perfect read for me as I coached through my first year of coaching girls basketball.I loved reading the struggles and ups and downs of this team as they worked their way to a perfect season At the end of the day, this book reminded me that no matter where you coach or where you are from at the end of the day kids are kids The difference is that they all come with many different factors, but when you can strip away all the stresses of life and focus on the game of basketball there is a sense of serenity.Coach Bob Hurley is intense He pulls no string and gets to the point He has high expectations and has found a way for troubled youth to rise to the occasion.I just really enjoyed reading the journey and getting into the lives of everyone involved This book proves as a great reminder that there is to a program and coach than the players and head coach It really takes an entire community to make things happen.This was an enjoyable read Obviously, you are not going to learn drills and plays from this book, bu rather a story about how everything comes together to make magic happen I look forward to finding another book to provide me some motivation and insight. This is not just a book about basketball, it s a book about Jersey City and the life that entails It s a book about poverty, class, values, and the ability inability to obtain the American Dream Through Bob Hurley s tenacity, we can all learn and be motivated in our daily lives, beyond basketball Upon finishing this book, I was truly sad to find out that St Anthony had already played their last game as the school finally closed its doors this past year St Anthony, Bob Hurley, and its players will continue to live on. This book was a biography of Bob Hurley, but it was the best biography I ever read It takes us into the inner city New Jersey where we learn to love a basketball team that I honestly never thought would win Not only was this book a real page flipper, but it also taught me some key values of life in an uplifting way After every mistake a character in the book makes, they always find a way to get back up At some points in the book I laughed, other times I cried, but I will always love this book Thank you to Adrian Wojnarowski for a fantastic novel. I m convinced that there has got to be another way to reach troubled inner city teenagers than Coach Bob Hurley s preferred method of profanity laced verbal dressing downs His style is likely not what I would employ if thrust into a small basketball program in decaying Jersey City That being said, there is clearly a method to his madness This book crescendos from a simply angry Hurley in the opening chapters for whom I felt no real affection, to a Hurley who has succeeded in bringing yet another senior class of basketball players to the pinnacle of High School Basketball With each page I found myself rooting harder and harder for Hurley s team on and off the court and I started to appreciate that, while somewhat heavy handed, Hurley s approach to coaching is effective in showing kids that there is in fact a world beyond the small housing projects that they have called home. I m a sucker for sports stories, but this is probably the best I ve ever read Not only is the writing phenomenal definitely going to check out Wojnarowski s columns , but the story of Bob Hurley is incredible The combination of Hurley s discipline, family values, the importance he places on a college education, and his loyalty to his students is unbeatable I ve always been attracted to strong disciplinary figures and situations, and the story has honestly given me a new perspective of competing interacting with the students I work with Very inspiring, very moving I teared up while reading the stories of Hurley s sons and at the end of the improbable undefeated season.