FIGHT AGAINST TIME: Five Athletes--A Legacy of Courage by Steven Clark

FIGHT AGAINST TIME: Five Athletes--A Legacy of Courage

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After finishing this book, one is inclined to ask ""why?"" The author does a reasonable enough job of making the doomed football and baseball heroes likable--Freddie Steinmark of the 1969 Texas Longhorns, quarterback Joe Roth from the Univ. of California, shortstop Danny Thompson of the Minnesota Twins, 1950s Red Sox first baseman Harry Agganis, and most famously, Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis from Syracuse. None were quitters; even in the face of death (usually from cancer or leukemia), they were determined to compete and excel in their sport--or at least that's the way they are remembered. Coaches, teammates, and family priests can be forgiven if they eulogize a little--according to such partisan authorities, none of the athletes succumbed to self-pity; all would have gone on to sky-is-the-limit futures if they had lived; and rarely did one of them exhibit even the smallest vice (Agganis lived with and revered his aging mother; Joe Roth ""stood for goodness and decency""). All this rings most true in the account of Ernie Davis; there is a genuineness in the memories of those quoted there. But essentially one might wonder about the usefulness of the kind of post-tragedy hindsight that labels an athlete ""a special person to begin with."" And from all accounts, labels of ""courage"" might have made these men uncomfortable; Steinmark dismissed his leg amputation with the words ""There was no choice. I think courage is doing something that you don't have to do.

Pub Date: June 18th, 1979
Publisher: Atheneum