Publishers Weekly Review
Norwich, Vt., emerges as an enviable town out of time in New York Times sports reporter Crouse's charming first book. The wealthy southern Vermont town has produced 11 Olympians since 1956, and Crouse reveals the town's secret to raising successful athletes early on-"a deep aversion to pushing its children too hard too soon"-and offers a loose blueprint for other communities to follow. Norwich's agrarian culture, Crouse writes, encourages parents to provide hands-off support for their children in a variety of athletic pursuits, and coaches consider themselves to be educators rather than "emissaries assigned to deliver children to the ranks of professional sports." The kids, meanwhile, value participation, sportsmanship, and fun above winning. Crouse unpacks all this in chapters that read like individuals profiles of the town's successful athletes, such as mogul skier Hannah Kearney, who credits her Olympic success to the small town, and distance runner Andrew Wheating, who didn't even take up the sport until high school. Short and sweet, this important book highlights what's wrong with youth sports by focusing on a community that gets it right. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.