Island Cup: Two Teams, Twelve Miles of Ocean, and Fifty Years of Football Rivalry

James Sullivan. Bloomsbury, $24 (304p) ISBN 978-1-60819-527-5
College is the province of football rivalries, but two small high schools in Massachusetts have established a rivalry that challenges the phenomena of “Army-Navy, Ohio State-Michigan, Georgia-Florida.” The high schools on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket play annually for the coveted “Island Cup,” first awarded in 1978 after the rivalry was almost 20 years old. Sullivan (Seven Dirty Words) chronicles the evolution of the contest played not by the “wealthy white Americans” who summer there, but by “boys of polyglot heritage,” “the working people who truly define Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.” The rivalry achieved enough fame to be featured in Sports Illustrated and the New Yorker, but Sullivan’s narrative is uneven, at times to the point that chapters are little more than a series of paragraphs that themselves are isolated vignettes. Island history is a highlight interspersed between game summaries and life stories, but part of that history is “uncommonly high rates of depression, alcoholism, and suicide,” and what sadly emerges is a tale of broken homes and the physical toll of high school football. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/28/2012
Release date: 07/17/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-60819-905-1
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-60819-906-8
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