Category Archives: UnBook Club

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

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

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a great story of a small town baseball team that made an improbable run at the Illinois high school baseball championship in 1971, in the days when small schools and big schools played each other in the postseason. It’s also a story of how a young teacher/coach transformed his players, students, and, to some degree, the town of Macon, IL.

I grew up in Decatur and Champaign, so it was an added bonus for me that Macon is close to Decatur and Lynn Sweet’s family settled in Champaign. Fred Schooley, one of Sweet’s Champaign friends, taught and coached at Champaign Central when I went there. It was a pleasant surprise to find him in the story. Macon also played at Champaign Central’s McKinley Field, which is where Central’s baseball team still plays.

Highly recommended for people who like a good sports story, especially those who live in Central Illinois.

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