A terrific resource for March Madness fun.




A joyous outpouring of numbers aimed to soothe the jangled nerves of those caught up in the great, late-winter college basketball tournament.

Sams has marshaled a dizzying array of statistics in a variety of original concatenations to help navigate March Madness—the annual college basketball championship series. The “madness” is a result of the sheer number of teams at play that are slowly winnowed down throughout the month. Sams wants to make some sense of the process, perhaps glean a theme or pattern; if nothing else, he will have tidy histories of team performance that may reveal tendencies. This book is a very straightforward item, mostly bare of narrative (all of which is contained in its brief, explicatory introduction). Its purpose is to present team statistics since 1985 (the first year with a field of 64 teams), which he has arranged alphabetically. For each winning team of the 64 invited to the tournament, Sams provides scads of information, including records for each round of play, team success (or failure) depending on how highly they were ranked going into the tournament and how well teams did against opponents from different regions throughout the country. Even readers without a jones for statistical analysis can get caught up in the almost hallucinatory experience of trying to make something of all the figures. And thanks to the bare-bones presentation, each team—from the Air Force Academy to Xavier, from big guns to derringers—exerts its own fascination. Kentucky, Duke, Kansas and the like have pages of material, while Long Island, Long Beach and Liberty pass quietly under the radar.

A terrific resource for March Madness fun.

Pub Date: July 27, 2012

ISBN: 978-1478129769

Page Count: 250

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2012

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An inspiring memoir that will thrill soccer fans as well as social justice activists.


The soccer superstar discusses her life on and off the field and how she has used celebrity in the service of social justice.

Rapinoe grew up in “an athletic family” in small-town Northern California. Early in childhood, she and her identical twin, Rachael, revealed exceptional physical gifts. Both began playing soccer on a boys team at age 6 and quickly overshadowed peers with their "instinctive hand-eye coordination and physical fearlessness.” Later, they played on an all-female team their father created until both were selected to join a bigger, more competitive one in Sacramento. As their soccer skills developed, the sisters discovered a passion for justice of all kinds. “My sister and I have this in common: nothing riles us up more than bullying, cheating, unfairness,” writes the author. Eventually, this passion for social justice became the cornerstone of Rapinoe's stances on such issues as LGBTQ+ rights, pay equity in sports, and the Black Lives Matter movement. When the author reached college in 2004, she surpassed Rachael as an athlete and received an invitation to play in the FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship in Thailand. In 2006, she joined the U.S. national team as the "youngest and least experienced player.” A major knee injury put her out of contention for the 2008 Olympic team but also taught her the meaning of patience and humility. After college, she turned professional and, in 2012, publicly came out as a lesbian. After a World Cup victory in 2015, Rapinoe became a vocal advocate for pay increases for female athletes, and in 2016, she took a knee to protest racial injustice. This candid memoir about an outspoken White athlete who has consciously "extend[ed] [her] privilege" to those marginalized people both in and out of the sporting world is sure to engage general audiences and soccer fans alike.

An inspiring memoir that will thrill soccer fans as well as social justice activists.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-984881-16-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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Smart, engaging sportswriting—good reading for organization builders as well as Pats fans.


Action-packed tale of the building of the New England Patriots over the course of seven decades.

Prolific writer Benedict has long blended two interests—sports and business—and the Patriots are emblematic of both. Founded in 1959 as the Boston Patriots, the team built a strategic home field between that city and Providence. When original owner Billy Sullivan sold the flailing team in 1988, it was $126 million in the hole, a condition so dire that “Sullivan had to beg the NFL to release emergency funds so he could pay his players.” Victor Kiam, the razor magnate, bought the long since renamed New England Patriots, but rival Robert Kraft bought first the parking lots and then the stadium—and “it rankled Kiam that he bore all the risk as the owner of the team but virtually all of the revenue that the team generated went to Kraft.” Check and mate. Kraft finally took over the team in 1994. Kraft inherited coach Bill Parcells, who in turn brought in star quarterback Drew Bledsoe, “the Patriots’ most prized player.” However, as the book’s nimbly constructed opening recounts, in 2001, Bledsoe got smeared in a hit “so violent that players along the Patriots sideline compared the sound of the collision to a car crash.” After that, it was backup Tom Brady’s team. Gridiron nerds will debate whether Brady is the greatest QB and Bill Belichick the greatest coach the game has ever known, but certainly they’ve had their share of controversy. The infamous “Deflategate” incident of 2015 takes up plenty of space in the late pages of the narrative, and depending on how you read between the lines, Brady was either an accomplice or an unwitting beneficiary. Still, as the author writes, by that point Brady “had started in 223 straight regular-season games,” an enviable record on a team that itself has racked up impressive stats.

Smart, engaging sportswriting—good reading for organization builders as well as Pats fans.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982134-10-5

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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