Blades Of Glory by John Rosengren


"Blades of Glory" takes us into the world of Minnesota High School Hockey. John Rosengren spent an entire season with the 2000-2001 Bloomington Jefferson hockey team. He provides a very in depth recap of their entire season. Rosengren gives readers an inside look on what the sport is really like as well as a lot of very interesting history regarding hockey in Minnesota. The Jefferson Jaguars are ranked number one in the state a few games into the season, experience some highs and lows after that and eventually have their hearts broken when they lose the section semi-final and have their hockey seasons cut short.

The Purpose

Rosengren wrote this book to inform people how big of a deal hockey really is in Minnesota. He also worked to point out the dangers that an obsession with sports and how they can very easily affect children, teens and even adults.
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Three things I learned

1. In a sense, youth sports are taken so seriously that a child may very well lose the innocence of his or her childhood. The fun in sports is replaced with a competitive drive that can overtake a child.

2. A large problem with a child being over-competitive in sports (many are) is that they and their parents will do anything to advance their success. This can lead to use of performance enhancing drugs and unhealthy training habits.

3. Minnesota hockey is one of it's greatest traditions. The fact that the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament has more attendance than any other state tournament in the country proves this. Minnesotans love their hockey.

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Which Chapter had the Greatest Impression on Me?

The chapter "Judgement Day" easily had the greatest impression on me. This is because I found out that Dougie Stansbury, a student at Bloomington Jefferson, had commit suicide some time after getting cut from the high school hockey team. According to his mother, getting cut as a senior had destroyed his confidence and sent him into a deep state of depression where he opted to take his life instead of live with the pain. When students begin killing themselves over sports, society needs to change.
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How Would I Rate This Book?

For all the Minnesotans out there, I would rate this book a definite 5 for not only the reason that it's an interesting story, but for the fact that most of the things Rosengren talks about, we can relate to. For example, while reading about the game that Jefferson had with Elk River, I was very intrigued because I could identify with his description with their rink. It was a cool feeling! Regarding all non-minnesotan readers, I would rate this book a 4 because some of the details can be quite droll if you can't relate to them.

My Favorite Passages

Page 164 - "Sats mingles with the alumni, asking about college and careers, girlfriends and wives. His former players were wordialbut cautious Even though they had staked their independence as adults inthe years since graduation, theyfound themselves feelinglike they were back in high school in their former coach's presence. Their relationship with Sats was layered with father-figure issues. They regarded him with a mixture of respect and resentment." The reason this passage interests me so much is because I find it incredibly ridiculous how grown men are still in need of their coaches approval. It truly is insane how much affect hockey has on the ones who play it in Minnesota.

Page 82 - "Blade Day in Bloominton was a don't stick your toungue tothe flagpolecold morning, the sun white in a clear sky - the kind of day when kids used toskate onfrozen ponds and shoot on goals fashioed from a pair of boots. Not so anymore. Hockey has grown up, lost it's innocence. It got organized." I agree with the last statement 100%. It's not only hockey that has lost it's innocence. Youth sports are starting to become so organized that you never see the classic "Sandlot" kind of kids anymore. Kids grow in the program during scheduled times. Not in their free time for fun like the past.

Connections About the Book and my Life

I can definitely relate to "Blades of Glory", as a child and teen numerous off season training programs were scheduled for me in order to help me excel come season-time. During the summer you could find me in a humid basketball gym with a trainer, not on the local court with my friends. In order to keep up with competition I was forced to play basketball year round with caused a big problem. It stopped being fun.