Game Day

Meet the People Who Make It Happen
Gr 5—9—Popular athletes enjoy a great deal of attention, but there are many important individuals who operate behind the scenes. Sylvester introduces 20 lesser-known people who have made a career in sports. From tennis chair umpire to horse trainer to race-car mechanic to figure-skating choreographer, readers meet a variety of workers who keep the sports machine running. The result is a mixed bag. The opening chapter on the head groundskeeper at Oriole Park falls flat, which may nip readership in the bud. Readers who persevere, though, will meet some truly resourceful and engaging people: a Paralympic Games champion turned tenor who sings for the New York Yankees; a scout for the Chicago White Sox who will only recommend players who have learned to fail gracefully; and a Zamboni driver who is committed to the art of good ice. While Careers in Focus: Sports (Ferguson, 2008) goes into more detail about the various fields and recommends specific studies to help prepare for career choices, Sylvester imparts some solid tidbits of advice in his chatty, conversational narrative. The suggestions from many of the people he interviewed—perseverance, respect, hard work—are presented in a way that will engage adolescents considering careers in these areas. Photographs, sidebars, and quotes from the profiled individuals help break up the text. It is a shame that Sylvester's selections are not more diverse: women figure in only five of the profiles (one of them being the head Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader), and cap designer Albizu Rondon is the only nonwhite male featured. While the intent of this book is admirable, its execution falls a bit short.—Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA

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