(Photo Credit: J. Mark Hunt)
Sports, Steel Mills and Segregation
In life, no matter what age a person is, it’s all about the choices made.
Regardless of the choice, there will be a consequence. Sometimes that consequence turns out to be positive, sometimes negative, and sometimes it will leave one wondering if that choice was the best.
In the story Fielder’s Choice by J. Mark Hunt, Brad Williams struggles with this important lesson, making the right choices.
Brad is a high school senior in Birmingham, Ala. in 1969.
Everyone that Brad knows, including his father, works at the local steel mill. The realization starts setting in that he too could end up working there, to his dismay.
He realizes that the only way he could avoid having the same future as everyone else he knows is to get a scholarship for baseball.
Brad has always loved the game and is quite good at it. Going into the season, he feels his team has what it takes to help get him the recognition he needs to get the scholarship……until some changes begin to happen.
One of the changes is Robbie, an African American student that comes to his school. Robbie is put on the team and then given Brad’s position.
With the world facing major life-altering issues such as integration and the Vietnam War draft, Brad struggles with whether his feelings for Robbie are racial or a rivalry.
Brad realizes more than ever that he has to get that baseball scholarship. Without that, he realizes he will have to make that choice of what he loves more, baseball or his country.
He also has to think about all the other things that come along with being a teenager.
Hunt is able to effortlessly write a story that combines Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, baseball and teenage boys dealing with falling in love.
He also puts himself in a different category from other authors by brilliantly allowing the reader to witness first-hand how Whites viewed America’s changes.
Fielder’s Choice is one of those stories that do not need to be put into a particular category or genre.
You don’t have to be a history buff, sports lover or a child of the 1960s to enjoy it.
However, the reader will have to be patient and have some extra time on their hands to finish it.
At times, certain topics may be drawn out a little longer than necessary.
Also, it may take the average reader longer to finish because it is quite lengthy.
Overall, if you enjoy a feel-good type of story, Fielder’s Choice may be the one for you.
Again, life is all about choices. The choice is yours!