A droning, heavy-handed disappointment of a second novel from Barton (The El Cholo Feeling Passes, 1985)--the story of a selfless, liberated male basketball coach who helps a high-school girl realize her dream of playing with the boys. The unfortunate hero of this trudging comic novel is a kind of poor man's Garp. ""Mac"" MacIntire is raised during the 50's in New Orleans in a home for unwed mothers where his own mother, Shells, works as a seamstress. Sheila is a lusty, liberated-before-her-time sort who has dumped her uptight preacher husband and brought Mac up without a drop of dreaded male chauvinism in his body. This stands him in good stead when, a former college basketball star, he begins coaching at Broussard High, and 16-year-old Barbara Jeanne Bordelon wins a lawsuit that alalows her to play with the male varsity. Mac is attacked right and left--by the Soldiers of Jesus, a religious group run by his long-lost father; by the Feminist Organization of Louisiana, a radical group of women who mistakenly think he's keeping Barbara Jeanne from playing; and by the usual assortment of school officials and reporters, all of whom are, of course, blithering idiots. But Mac--enlightened wimp that he is--stands his ground and in the end is vindicated as Barbara Jeanne leads his team to a victory in the state finals. Making it to the end of this lengthy sermon is an accomplishment, like dribbling single-handedly through a full-court press.