Mighty Mary

Mighty Mary by Tony Scaringe

Categories: Fiction, Novel, Sports

Book Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Mighty Mary is a fascinating work of fiction, based on real-life events, that encompasses the sport of international yacht racing and the first all-women’s team to vie for the America’s Cup in 1995. Tony Scaringe expertly portrays the obstacles faced by the women who were breaking new ground by competing in a male dominated sport. Readers gain an inside perspective into the concerted undertaking and unwavering commitment necessary in order for this momentous event to take place. Purchase here.

The prologue, chapter and section headings, and epilogue are integral to the storyline. The prologue provides readers with a brief history of the America’s Cup and introduces Dan Cook, the motivator behind the establishment of the women’s team. Interviews with Cook are skillfully interwoven into this story that exemplifies a noteworthy occasion in history. The chapter headings, as well as section headings within chapters, do not interrupt the flow of the story. Specifically, the headings are an invaluable source of information by giving readers each chapter’s theme, along with making it easy to follow changes in locations, events, and timeframes. The epilogue includes uplifting and appreciative comments in recognition of not only the women’s team but also their advocates. Moreover, these remarks are made by men who are instrumental in changing the perception of women’s ability to compete against men in yacht racing. In addition, the epilogue includes a meeting with the press in 1995. This encounter brings into question whether or not a man may have negatively affected a key performance.

Scaringe has done a remarkable job of illustrating the courage, sacrifice, perseverance, and dedication of the women’s team in spite of the issues they faced. For instance, some of the concerns were prejudiced views toward women’s involvement in what was considered to be a “man’s sport,” stress in relationships due to time commitment, disappointments in race outcomes, and life-threatening experiences during sailing races. Marvelous portrayals of well-rounded characters, scenes brought to life by vivid descriptions, and wonderfully dramatized conflicts both between man and nature increase the enjoyment of this novel.

Mighty Mary is a well-written and superbly researched, heartening story of the strength of human resilience. Readers are also provided with an excellent bibliography of books and articles for anyone interested in more information about the America’s Cup all-women’s team, their public launching into America’s Cup sailing, and the events that transpired in which women were given an opportunity to try and prove they could effectively compete on par with men at the top level of an international sport.

Establishing Presence

Establishing Presence by T.L. Hoch

Reviewed by Teri Davis

What is the purpose of a softball game? Is it the same as a basketball game? Is there a difference between the two? Is winning the goal of both sports? Is winning everything? Can you learn more than the techniques of a competition by not winning? Purchase Here.

Between the junior and senior years of high school, a few exceptional female athletes are invited to assist at a sports camp for women’s softball and basketball. Annie, Chip, and Jenny are from the small town of Reston, Texas and joined by Cheryl while rooming together at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.

Cheryl’s uncle is in charge of the camp and is thrilled to have these exceptionally talented high-school seniors joining her.

The four girls enthusiastically work with the younger campers teaching them the technicalities and techniques needed to improve their skills. Including becoming better players, they also quickly learn that building their game skills are as necessary as building their personal and interpersonal skills.

Establishing Presence is the third book in this T. L. Hoch series featuring Chip Fullerton and Annie Smith.

What is special about these books, especially Establishing Presence? The novel is for male and female middle-school and high school students, even prospective coaches proving that winning is important but the life skills learned in sports are as valuable as a victory or a loss. How do you win or lose depends on your personal character. These often underlying values are what creates an outstanding person as an adult. Also mentioned is even the importance of the music department, although it was lightly mentioned, but at least recognized.

The previous books, Chasing Normal for girls’ basketball and Discovering Balance about girls’ softball, introduced the characters as well as Jenny, Luke.

The foundation of these books is demonstrating the need to reach beyond the sport and coach each player in developing into a more mature, caring adult.

T. L. Hoch is a Michigan native who earned a teaching degree as well as a masters degree in education. He has worked as a coach at football, basketball, softball as well as golf. He now enjoys his retirement and while reflecting on his past experiences into building well-written stories for high-school students based around a sports theme.

Establishing Presence is a special novel written for teens, especially sport fans. However, the book is also valuable to coaches of all sports at all levels, as well as all readers.