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5.0 out of 5 stars The Story of Women's Basketball! Outstanding!, 3 July 1999
By A Customer
Sara Corbett, who wrote this book, had the opportunity of traveling with the winning U.S. Women's Basketball Olympic team from their early tryouts in April 1995 to their glorious gold medal in Atlanta in 1996. She was there when they for the very beginnings and the selection process; she was there for their rigorous training under their coach, Tara Vanderveer; she was there during meals and long boring flights.
Through a series of in-depth interviews, as well as 14 months of personal
observation, she has written the book that defines the major milestone in women's basketball gaining the public's awareness and acceptance. Each of the 12 women on the team as well as their coach are skillfully profiled, and their stories weave in and out of the main focus of the book: BASKETBALL!.
To her credit, Ms. Corbett, kept the focus on the game. She lets the player's hopes and dreams and divergent personalities emerge through the sport. Of course we get their backgrounds too. We see Sheryl Swoops and her adoring husband, we see the explosive personality of Dawn Staley who likes to make side wagers on everything; we see Rebecca Lobo having trouble keeping up with the training; and Lisa Leslie's love for dressing up. But most of all, we see them play basketball.
In 1995, there wasn't even a basketball league for women. But during the time of their training for the Olympics, the possibility of two different leagues emerged -- the WNBA and the ABL. This was the major source of conflict between the members on the team during the course of the year. They had to put their disagreements aside though, and play basketball.
And that they did. They played and played and played, wining every single one of the games they played during that year. The women's college teams were easy, but they struggled with the team from China and the team from Australia. They constantly traveled, and the fatigue and frustrations of a life on the road was clearly examined.
Now, just a few years after the Olympics we take the WNBA for granted. American women now have an arena to play basketball professionally after college without going to Europe to play. The experiences playing for the European teams were usually unhappy. They were alone in foreign countries with a cultural barrier between themselves and their teammates. They were treated poorly, and sometimes punched and sexually intimated by their male coaches. It was never a pleasant experience.
The women were proud to be on the Olympic team, but the pressure never let up. Each game was a different kind of challenge. I loved the descriptions of the games, and even though I knew the final outcome of each game, found my heart beating during the play by play action. The game became more than just an unidentified player running around the court. It was Sheryl and Teresa and Katrina and Dawn. It was Rebecca and Jennifer and Lisa and Carla. I followed the action. And I was right there on the court with them.
One of the greatest things about this book, too, was how much it stirred me to learn more. My experience with basketball is limited and so I found myself confused at times with the pletora of terms: lay-up, posting; box up, screen. I therefore found myself going outside the confines of the book, asking questions of the basketball experts in my life, and looking up each player on the internet to find out where she is playing now and how she is doing.
I loved this book, carried it everywhere and couldn't put it down. I was right there with the team all the way and shared the very real swells of emotion they were experiencing . I shared the pain of their injuries, the strain of their training, the adrenaline rush during the games. I shared he plays that didn't make it and the plays that did. I heard the roar of the crowd, felt the strain and the pain, and experienced the glory of the victory.
The story of women's basketball is more than the story of this individual Olympic team. it is about the real opportunities that have opened for women in the world of sport. And, as a whole new generation of little girls are growing up with these possibilities now a reality, it is about the future.
Highly highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Basketball as a metaphor for women's lives!, 1 Aug 1997
By A Customer
Sara Corbett's book is action-packed and beautifully written,but it's more than a story about the phenomenal rise of women's basketball and what the athletes who love the sport had to go through to get their new leagues: "Venus to the Hoop" is about women's lives and conflicts; about finding a new, strong vision of femininity; about women who pursue their dreams despite all odds. A great book for anyone interested in the lives of and psychological/political issues affecting women and girls, as well as for sports fans, and those who like a good, well-crafted read--for everyone!
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read, 13 Feb 1999
By A Customer
My two daughters are junior high basketball players, and I picked up this book on a whim at a bookstore recently. I was gripped from page one and couldn't put it down after that. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to CALL Sara while I was reading this and tell her, "This is a great book!" But I trust other people have done that. You really get a sense of what being on that team was like, and I enjoyed this book immensely. It's on my list of all-time favorite sports books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring book!, 16 Jun 1998
By A Customer
This book was really something special. Quite a story of the team, the players, their hopes, their fears, their conflicts, everything! An intimate look at the team that showed the world what women's basketball was really all about. But also a really insightful look at the players and their motivations - who they were and why they were driven. Lots of fun and truly inspiring!
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5.0 out of 5 stars An awsome book for the avaid basketball fan!, 28 Jan 1999
By A Customer
This book has become one of my favorites. Telling the story of the 12 women who made up the 1996 gold medal team, Corbett went in-depth which each player. The book created a personal veiw of what the team went through. From a 30 year old vetren, to a 20 year old not yet graduated, you are able to get a real sense of each player!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!, 29 Jun 1998
By A Customer
This is a great book by a great author! It's a "must read" for all sports fans.
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Venus to the Hoop: A Gold Medal Year in Women's Basketball
Venus to the Hoop: A Gold Medal Year in Women's Basketball by Sara Corbett (School & Library Binding - Oct 1999)
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