When I came across Pat Conroy’s life as a writer and college basketball player I knew that I had to read one of his books. I already knew of him as a writer because of “The prince of tides”, although I had not read the book.
There was a connection between us because of his beloved South Carolina, a place that I also keep close to my heart. So I looked up his bibliography and there it was, a book about basketball, or rather, about basketball, writing and a lot more.
“My losing season” is about basketball. The vivid descriptions of the games, the inside knowledge that only a player can provide, make this a great book to read for any basketball fan. However, Conroy uses his passion for the game as the background against which he paints a much larger picture. That of a boy who finds his way in life thanks to a basketball and a rectangular court. His difficult relationship with his father is here present in all its reality, not disguised in fictional characters as in some of his other books. The way Conroy talks about it, the way he describes how his father systematically humiliated him, is quite moving. And his overcoming of it is an example of courage.
Conroy’s style is passionate, honest in a way it is difficult to find these days. His idealistic view on so many things (the Vietnam war, college basketball, friendship) does not sound superficial or hypocritical, it sounds true and eloquent. He loves everything in the book, with the exception of his father of course. He loves basketball, his team mates, at times even his coach and above all South Carolina.
It is quite straight forward, this book makes you feel better. Even if you do not like basketball.