Letter Essay #6
I recently finished the book, “The Only Game” by Mike Lupica. It is a very well written, 310 page, realistic fiction novel. It is a single book, not in a series. It is a book about baseball, but filled with a lot of emotion in the characters’ personal lives. This book was published in 2015. The author, Mike Lupica is a very successful author and sports analyst. He has written many different novels, all about sports. I read this book because I like sports book and I have read many of Mike Lupica’s books. I also read it because I used to play baseball and I got some nostalgia from reading the preview and looking at the cover.
In the book, The Only Game, the main characters are Jack Callahan, Cassie Bennett, Gus Morales and Teddy. The point of view is in third person. The baseball season is about to start for Jack, which is what he has been waiting for since the last season ended. In his town, Walton, everyone loves baseball and at Highland Park there are 4 Little League fields that are almost always filled. Jack had loved baseball all his life and was always the star player. He was best 7th grader in town. His teammate and best friend, Gus Morales was always practicing with Jack. This year was a little different though, because the stakes have been raised. This year Jack’s team had a shot at going to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Jack and Gus have been waiting for this their whole life. This year their team was more stacked than ever. But then, suddenly, Jack quit the team. He told his parents and it was the biggest surprise to them because they knew Jack loved the game, but right now he hated it. He told his coach but did not tell Gus yet. Jack’s brother, Brad, died in August, of the previous summer. Brad was a daredevil and loved riding his dirt bikes. One night he and his friends went to an empty field next to Walton Country Club. There were “No Trespassing” signs all over the place, but that didn’t stop them. Brad was going way too fast and suddenly he went flying. The drop was so steep, it was like falling off a cliff. The doctors at the scene had said that when he landed at the base of the tree, it was the same as if he the tree with a speeding car. Brad had so much fun and life in him, only now he was gone. Then, one night, Jack called gus about him quitting baseball. He told Gus and he was shocked. He kept trying to persuade him not to quit but Jack wouldn’t budge. The next day at school, everyone found out about it and Gus was still upset. At lunch, Jack did not sit with Gus, for the first time in a long time, so he sat with an overweight kid named Teddy and was at the end of a table with Cassie Bennett sitting at the other side. Gus suddenly came over to where Jack was sitting, and asked him if he was going to play after school. Cassie came over and stood up for Jack and his decision. Gus backed away and lunch was over. From that day on, Jack and Cassie became really good friends and they thought out Jack’s decision to quit baseball. They hung out a lot, and also now Jack has become better friends with Teddy. He trains Teddy a lot to get in shape and to become a catcher for the next season. One day after school, Jack’s parents come to his room with a box. It was a birthday gift from Brad that he never gave to him since he passed away. It was a signed baseball by Dustin Pedroia, a famous baseball player that Jack idolizes. At this moment Jack changed his decision.
I was surprised, when Cassie stood up for Jack at lunch. This surprised me because Jack and Cassie never really talked except the fact that they both knew that they were the best ballplayers in town. Also, at the time, everyone knew that Jack quit and nobody wanted to question it except Gus. Furthermore, nobody would really get in Jack and Gus’ way whenever they would talk. Because of this, Cassie became great friends with Jack.
I liked the way the author included this emotional piece of dialogue between Jack and his mom when she was giving him the gift from Brad.
“I found this when I was going through his things,” his mom said. “I didn’t know what it was for or who it was for, so I opened it. When I found out it was for you, I taped the paper back together.”
She smiled at him. But now she was the one starting to cry. It made Jack feel as if they were all watching the same sad movie together.
What I really like about this passage is that it is only a short part of what happened when Jack received the ball. It is full of sadness and joy and it is about family and doing what you love. That is what this book is about and I rate it 10/10.