|Year of Publication||2004|
|Series Title||Sports stories 75|
|Descriptors||Chapter Book; Conflict Resolution; English Language; Friendship; Games; Leadership; Morals; New Brunswick; School; Sport|
In this chapter book, the fourth sports story about the students of Brunswick Valley school by New Brunswick author Robert Rayner, a new principal arrives with a draconian set of rules which result in the almost immediate suspension of the entire soccer team from game play. Team captain Shay Sutton leads his friends in a rebellion against the school authorities and starts a team of his own made up of the Brunswick Valley players, which under an assumed name and with the help of an older friend who is the son of a famous soccer player, manages to climb to the top of the league and defeat Brunswick Valley's old rivals, Saint Croix Middle School. Though the team's victory does not count, the team is pleased to have been champions for a fleeting moment and is not upset. When he reflects on their actions, Shay acknowledges that their deliberate breach of the rules might have been a bit extreme, but feels confident that he made the right decision in leading his friends to oppose the excessive rules.
|Age Range|| |
Shay Sutton is the Brunswick Valley School soccer team's leader, and in a game against their bitter rivals, Shay head-butts an opponent in the stomach and starts a brawl. The school principal immediately imposes a code of conduct on the players that includes many seemingly arbitrary rules. Before long the entire soccer team is suspended from play. They start their own soccer team and manage to convince league officials that they are playing for a new school that does not actually exist. They find a coach in a mysterious young man named Ice who turns out to be a former star soccer player. As the Cemetery Road Wanderers, the kids from Brunswick Valley manage to make it to the finals, and in a special coaches competition, Ice proves his talents.
The last thing Grandad said as I left to play soccer was, “Don’t let them drag you down to their level. Remember the rules of the game.”
So when Hawler the Mauler crushed Flyin’ Brian’s hand, and I started the brawl, I knew I’d have to keep it a secret from Grandad.
Brunswick Valley School’s games against St. Croix Middle School are always tough, but this one had been ferocious. Brian, our goalkeeper, had been pushed several times before the Mauler stepped on his hand. Tiny Jones had tripped Julie and pulled her long, blonde hair when she tackled him. The St. Croix players and spectators had teased us throughout the game. Whenever our fullback Toby – who’s a bit overweight – got the ball, they’d yell, “Yay, Fats!” and “Go, Lard boy!” They taunted Julie by chanting “Blondie” every time she touched the ball.
I hate getting dragged into a fight, because there’s never any glory in it, only bruises and bad feelings. And I hate going against the rules of the game. Rules are rules, as Grandad always says. But as captain of a soccer team I can’t stand by and watch the other side trample on my goalie. So when Mauler stamped on Brian’s fingers, then grinned at his team mates, I head-butted him in the stomach. (9)