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Catch a Rising Star    by Donald W. Albertson order for
Catch a Rising Star
by Donald W. Albertson
Order:  USA  Can
Turnkey, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Sally Selvadurai

Catch a Rising Star probes the phenomenon of sports parent and sports rage, something that has been all too evident in junior sport in the last couple of decades. Throughout the book Tom Anderson is following his own dreams for his son Marc, while dismissing the sporting accomplishments of Marc's twin Katie. Tom intimates to Katie that her brother has the potential to make big money through football, whereas women's sports (apart from golf and tennis) do not attract big bucks and are therefore not worthwhile. Tom does not spend nearly as much time with Katie as with Marc, and is surprised at her innate drive and tenacity when she informs him that she will take up tennis so that she too can become a worthwhile star!

Although Marc is only twelve years old, he is a very talented quarterback whose abilities have been noted by an elite team in the area, a team in desperate need of a replacement quarterback to take them to the playoffs. Tom's wife Maggie is reluctant to let Marc leave his neighbourhood team and the friends and team mates who have been his companions through several seasons of wins and losses. Tom prevails, and Marc moves on, dreaming of leading his new team to the State Championship, but are these really Marc's dreams? 'Tom had to let this be Marc's decision. If he forced him into it and he failed, it would be Tom's fault. If Marc made up his own mind, he would work harder at it', while all the time Tom knew he would have the final say: 'Having Marc by himself tomorrow morning would be long enough to convince him that this opportunity was too good to pass up'.

Tom is so completely focused on his vision for Marc's future that he refuses to listen to his wife, his son's old coach ('You don't give a shit about anyone else, only yourself! Did you stop and think how you're putting your kid in over his head? He may be a big fish in a little pond now, but in the ocean he's just bait'), and even Marc himself. Tom, unable to follow a sports career himself, is so obsessed with helping his son make the most of his talent that he loses sight of the personal strife that Marc is going through, ignores Maggie's pleas, and loses Katie's respect when he ignores her achievements, even though they are as spectacular as her brother's, or even more so.

This book will certainly give anyone a modicum of understanding of what drives the sports parent, and will leave many a reader feeling a mix of emotions for Tom - anger, sympathy, compassion and even a small spark of recognition ... after all, what parent does not want their child to succeed? However, it should be borne in mind that our children are not our reincarnations; they have their own hopes and aspirations, and parents should not live their lives vicariously through the achievements of their offspring.

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