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Hurricane Season: A Coach, His Team, and Their Triumph in the Time of Katrina

Hurricane Season: A Coach, His Team, and Their Triumph in the Time of Katrina

Written by Neal Thompson

Narrated by David Drummond


Hurricane Season: A Coach, His Team, and Their Triumph in the Time of Katrina

Written by Neal Thompson

Narrated by David Drummond

ratings:
5/5 (1 rating)
Length:
10 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Sep 17, 2007
ISBN:
9781400175291
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

"There's always a point in the season when you're faced with a challenge and you see what you're capable of. And you grow up." -J. T. Curtis, head coach, John Curtis Christian School Patriots

On Saturday, August 27, 2005, the John Curtis Patriots met for a grueling practice in the late summer New Orleans sun, the air a visible fog of humidity. They had pulled off a 19-0 shutout in their preseason game the night before, but it was a game full of dumb mistakes. Head coach J. T. Curtis was determined to drill those mistakes out of them before their highly anticipated next game, which sportswriters had dubbed "the Battle of the Bayou" against a big team coming in all the way from Utah. As fate played out, that afternoon was the last time the Patriots would see one another for weeks; some teammates they'd never see again. Hurricane Katrina was about to tear their lives apart.

The Patriots are a most unlikely football dynasty. Theirs is a small, nondescript, family-run school, the buildings constructed by hand by the school's founding patriarch, John Curtis, Sr. In this era of high school football as big business with 20,000-seat stadiums, John Curtis has no stadium of its own. The team plays an old-school offense, and Coach Curtis insists on a no-cut policy, giving every kid who wants to play a chance. As of 2005, they'd won nineteen state championships in Curtis's thirty-five years of coaching, making him the second most winning high school coach ever. Curtis has honed to a fine art the skill of teaching players how to transcend their natural talents. No screamer, he strives to teach kids about playing with purpose, the power of respect, dignity, poise, patience, trust in teamwork, and the payoff of perseverance, showing them how to be winners not only on the gridiron but in life, and making boys into men. Hurricane Katrina would put those lessons to the test of a lifetime.

Hurricane Season is the story of a great coach, his team, his family, and their school-and a remarkable fight back from shocking tragedy. It is a story of football and faith and of the transformative power of a team that rises above adversity, and above its own abilities, to come together again and prove what they're made of. It is the gripping story of how, as one player put it, "football became my place of peace."
Publisher:
Released:
Sep 17, 2007
ISBN:
9781400175291
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

Neal Thompson is a veteran journalist who has worked for the Baltimore Sun, Philadelphia Inquirer, and St. Petersburg Times, and whose magazine stories have appeared in Outside, Esquire, Backpacker, Mens Health, and The Washington Post Magazine. He is the author of two critically acclaimed books, Light This Candle: The Life and Times of Alan Shepard, America's First Spaceman and Driving with the Devil: Southern Moonshine, Detroit Wheels and the Birth of NASCAR. Thompson and his family live in the mountains outside Asheville, North Carolina. Visit his website at www.nealthompson.com


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  • (5/5)
    The effects of Hurricane Katrina have been reported over and over, on TV, in newspapers, magazines and blogs. With modern technology many of us got to watch it live, bearing down in all its terror, from the comfort of our safe, intact homes. It would seem that we knew all there was to know, knew the effects of the storm on people, places and things. But none of the coverage, none of the follow up reports on the storm and its aftermath can top the book Hurricane Season for sheer impact, both on knowledge and emotions.Hurricane Season is the story of one football team in the Parish of New Orleans. The team, The Patriots, is from a private Christian school that prides itself on its diverse student population, its core Christian values and its football team. Coach JT Curtis has one of the best win records in the country. His players have gone on to play for top college teams, a few are even playing for the NFL. In 2005 he was looking at a rebuilding year. The quarterback they expected to lead the team has left to join a rival school, one that will allow him more chances to gain the valuable stats that colleges seek. Coach Curtis believes in team effort, not individual star making. His team, due to his no cut policy, numbers over 100 each year. In a school of only 650 students, that is a very large percentage of the student population. His players train all summer, work to stay in shape, to be physically and mentally prepared for the fall football season. Coach believes in practice too- not the common 2 practices a day of most schools but three a day, a relentless, high powered training plan. But after all the preparations the season is brought to a sudden halt by Katrina. For football coaches' wives everywhere, the scene where the town is evacuating and the coaches' spouses are calling, actually interrupting their usual after practice meeting to try to convince the men to come home and pack, will ring very true. For the coaches and players nothing, short of Hurricane Katrina, would interfere with football.But Katrina does interfere, sending players fleeing to other parts of the country, taking away their homes, their parents' jobs and all stability. John Curtis School survives with limited damage, allowing it to become one of the first schools to reopen. The Curtis family, the extended family of the original school founder John Curtis, works to locate and convince as many students as possible to return to the area. Coach Curtis struggles to locate other teams willing and able to resume the football season. His players begin to return, exhausted, scared and confused but anxious to try to return to a sense of normality, a sense of hope for their futures, based on the foundation of the football team they love.The book begins and ends with football. It will appeal to any football fan, player, coach or sports fanatic. But this book goes far beyond the field. It interweaves the story of the John Curtis School, its history and its football, with an insider's look at Katrina and its aftermath. Using the individual players of the team and the storm's effects on them and their families Thompson is able to broaden the scope of the book to include an in depth look at the handling of the storm by individuals, agencies and the government. The middle section of the book is a clearly written account of the plight of those that suffered the loss of everything, the impact on families, jobs and futures. It is a devastating chronicle of not only nature's worst but of mankind at its best and worst.Hurricane Season is a journalistic view of one team, its players and the effects of the worst storm in American history. It is a tale of football, its impact on the youth who play America's favorite sport. It is a tale of one school and its efforts to create the best possible school that produces well rounded men and women. It is the tale of a government that is not able to handle the storm or its aftermath. But most of all, it is a tale of people- from the players who never give up, their families that survive the unthinkable and a school of parents, teachers and coaches that care.Neal Thompson has written a book that will resonate will all readers. His ability to tell the facts, clearly and vividly, on all levels of his account is exceptional. He tells all his true tales with clarity of knowledge, facts and figures, data and details. But it is the emotion that comes through the portrayal of the various aspects that makes this book outstanding. It is nonfiction at its most effective; it pushes the reader into involvement, caring and action. It is impossible to read this book and not respond on some level- perhaps some extra understanding or support for local sports programs, a volunteer relief effort (it is still needed) or at the very least an awareness of the America around us.. It celebrates our resiliency as it mourns our failures. Thompson managed this extraordinary writing feat of non fiction with heart, soul and flesh, examining the entire body of one individual event in our modern history.Reviewer's Personal Note:I must say that I HATE football. I live in small rural town in New England that lives, breathes and idolizes our State Champion high school football team. I never quite understood it. This book certainly does explain it on many levels. If I loved this book as much as I did, any sports fan will really be impressed. But it should go way beyond sports fans for readers. I am rarely not able to put a book down (I would never do anything but read othewise) but this book had me glued to the end. I highly recommend it for all readers.