CRASHING THE NET by Mary Turco

CRASHING THE NET

The U.S. Women's Olympic Ice Hockey Team and the Road to Gold
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KIRKUS REVIEW

An unapologetically feel-good human-interest look at the 1998 American winners of the first Olympic gold medal ever awarded in women’s ice hockey. Turco, a teacher in the Women’s Studies Program at Dartmouth College, accompanied the team as they trained for and competed in the Olympic games at Nagano, Japan. Her account of events is intermingled with the coach’s and players’ thoughts; particularly affecting are the days leading to the final cuts of the player roster and the account of the gold-medal final against the team’s arch rival, Canada. Team camaraderie and the ideal of sportsmanship are discussed more than actual hockey play. Even though there are entries from one player’s journal and personal details are given about each woman, no individual voice stands out. Nearly all the players are portrayed as attractive, intelligent girls-next-door, who played nobly for the love of the sport, team, country, and with a sense of history. These women were beneficiaries of Title IX legislation, enacted in 1972, which called for sex equity in educational programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance. They had unqualified support from family, boyfriends, and coaches. They were born believing that “girls can do anything, “and were far enough beyond the pioneering years of women’s sports that, while training, they learned more from the experiences of Muhammad Ali than Wilma Rudolph or Billie Jean King. But in her preface, Turco stresses that although the number of girls playing high school sports has grown (from 294,000 in 1971 to 2,472,043 in 1996—97), the cultural and financial battles for opportunities for females on the playing fields remain, particularly in the collegiate and professional realms. The epilogue’s recap of the team’s recognition and honors after the Olympics gives hope that their memorable gold-winning achievement will help advance women’s sports at all levels. Crashing the Net is best not for hockey diehards, but for the female reader or general sports fan looking for modern models of inspiration. (illustrations, not seen)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-06-019264-X
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1999




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