Ball Crazy: Confessions of a Dad-Coach

Hal Jacobs, Author
Hal Jacobs, A Capella/For Now, $10 paper (116p) ISBN 9780974387734
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Alternating between a season on the road with his 12-year-old son's travelling baseball team and the improvised pick-up games of his own Florida childhood, first-time author Jacobs distills the experience of youth baseball into a handful of slim chapters as supple and expansive as good short stories. A long-time journalist, Jacobs deploys a reporter's efficiency and eye for detail in the service of a wide range of ideas—baseball as home and healer, punishment and addiction, mistress and terrorist cell—but resists the temptation to follow any one metaphor down the rabbit hole. Instead, he sticks to the action, following the 2004 Decatur Hills Bulls through the PONY league tournament, parsing the nuances of joint pain, and negotiating outside obligations (his son's and his own); intriguing vignettes from the author's childhood give the proceedings heft and purpose: "How did youth baseball evolve from sandlot games to weekend tournaments that require the logistics of a Special Forces operation?" A chronicle sure to resonate with any parent involved in youth sports, and illuminate its joys and frustrations for any parent who isn't, Jacobs's narrative takes hold in the mind much like the game itself. (Aug.)
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