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Wicked Good Year
How the Red Sox, Patriots, and Celtics Turned the Hub of the Universe into the Capital of Sports

by Steve Buckley

     

Wicked Good Year is a wicked good read. Yeah, I know, but itís an irresistible line that happens to be true.

The 21st century had already been a good one for the sports-obsessed Boston area, with the Red Sox breaking an 86-year run of frustration to win baseballís World Series in 2004, and the Patriots reeling in NFL Super Bowl victories for the 2001, 2003 and 2004 seasons. But from the fall of 2007 through the spring of 2008, Boston enjoyed an unprecedented run of sports success, as the Red Sox and Celtics won championships and the Patriots came within 35 seconds of capping an undefeated season with another championship. In college sports, Boston College took the NCAA Division 1 Hockey title. And even the Bruins were showing signs of rising from the ashes of decadesí worth of burnt dreams.

Wicked Good Year tells the story of that time. Author Steve Buckley is a Boston Herald sports reporter and columnist, known for his passion for the stories and the history behind the games he covers. Itís an approach he uses with great success here, since epic as that run of success might have been, just reading game reports and summaries of the stats would get old pretty quickly. Instead, Buckley ties each teamís season to a unique, real life fanís perspective and experiences, then fills out the rest of the tale with, well, stories. All kinds of stories.†Stories from the players, former players, the coaches, other fans, other reporters, and even the driver of one of the amphibious duck boats used for championship victory parades in Boston. Iím a fan of the teams, but many of the stories were new to me. For example, I knew about how the Celtics used the term ubuntu as a sort of rallying cry, but had no idea about the tale behind where Coach Rivers picked it up or how he first used it in training camp to imprint it on his players. Nor had I heard legendary former player Bob Cousy talk about how it tied into the Celtics way from his day too.

Buckley talks about the history and offers up the stories in a comfortable, "intelligent fellow sports fan sharing a couple of beers" style. It feels natural because it is; he's still as much a fan as a reporter. This, in combination with the stories themselves, brings everything down to a personal, human level that lets the reader relate to being a part of it all. The result is easy reading fun for any sports fan. It's even fun to re-read—I went back to check something and found myself re-reading the whole chapter with an appreciative grin on my face.

Recommended.

The Book

!t Books / Harper Collins
November 2009
Hardcover
0061787388
Miscellaneous non-fiction / Sports
More at Amazon.com
Excerpt
NOTE: Some scattered swearing.

The Reviewer

Kim Malo
Reviewed 2010
NOTE:
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