One Shot at Forever: A Small Town, an Unlikely Coach, and a Magical Baseball Season by Chris Ballard



“Just a coach?”

Every small town has a story. In Macon Illinois, a trophy sits on a shelf in the local gas station. It’s from a baseball season when the local high school team went to the state championship. Some people remember and some do not. To those who were there, it was a defining moment.

I stumbled upon this book by chance. Our library was holding an adult summer reading program contest. It was a bingo game and one square was to read a book of about sports. I searched the library catalog for baseball and this title came up. It looked interesting and ended up being a book I’ll always remember.

Lynn Sweet comes to Macon to teach English. He is seen as a hippie with his longer hair, style of dress and teaching styles. Not everyone in the town likes him and several want to see him gone. He starts coaching the high school baseball team and even coaches differently than most people expect. He tells the kids that practice is optional and lets them run the drills and decide who plays each position. He figures since they’ve been playing together since they were little, they know best. His methods work really well, but their first run towards the state championship is ruined by a technicality. The failure almost leads to Sweet’s dismissal but baseball fever has taken ahold of Macon and the town wants the team to go to the state championship.

One Shot at Forever is well-written and tells a true story in a way that almost reads fictionally. The author follows up with where the characters are today and by that point, you almost feel like they are your friends, too. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good story, but especially to fans of baseball or those who root for underdogs.

Buy the book here (affiliate link).


About Sarah Anne Carter

Sarah Anne Carter is a writer and reader. She grew up all over the world as a military brat and is now putting down roots with her family in Ohio. Family life keeps her busy, but any spare moment is spent reading, writing or thinking about plots for novels.

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