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MUCKERS: When Your Town is About to Crumble, You Dig Deeper into the Muck and Find a Way to Win ~Sandra Neil Wallace


MUCKERS is based on a true story. This mighty football team did blast through the muck and succeed at a time when no one thought it was possible and the odds were not in their favor.   Although the story takes place in a fictional town, it is based on the journals and letters of the former High School principal, letters from the coach, and lots of newspaper stories.  The author truly did her homework and was able to interview some of the key players.

So here we are in an Arizona mining town in the 40’s and the rumor has it that the mine, the town, and the school are about to close down; there will be no company town or services and only some of the copper miners will be hired at other locations.  The town is built up the side of the mountain and the mines are deep within the earth.  The football field is slag  and it is ruff and often muddy when the rains arrive.  There are only 60 students left at the school and very few seniors.  The school is racially mixed and that is not something that happened in the 40’s.  But the players (just 12 at the win) had to make do with what they had,such as rag tag uniforms and no training equipment.  They were the smallest team in the state – physically.  They needed to win to count for something and to make their lives matter.

Add into the story MUCKERS (that is the team name and it is part of the ore sorting process) that the quarterback is not being fed by his drunken father, it is extremely hot, helmets are vintage and making the best of it, the Principal is fired for being a Communist and the coach dies just a few games before the playoffs.   Many people do not think they have a chance and this team is ready to set the world on fire.

Sandra Neil Wallace was an ESPN reporter who discovered in a small museum, the beginnings of her research in a box which had been dropped off and the curator could not decide what to do with it.  It took Wallace awhile to switch careers and stop moving around to tackle this story and put it into a book form.   It is very inspiring and how these young students figure out how to survive, be comrades and winners is a remarkable piece of history.

The book is written a bit like Wallace is the announcer calling the game plays and insights, and it took me a bit to get into her rhythm, but I think sports fans of all ages would not have much difficulty.  MUCKERS is a very worthwhile reading adventure.

Sandra Neil Wallace on Facebook

tlc logo This book was sent to me for review by TLC online book tours and KNOPF publishing. I think my readers will enjoy MUCKERS.   What a great gift idea and my copy is going to a school library.

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s from this site, I will receive a few blooms for my bouquet.  Thank you.  Donations also welcomed.

Related Reading:
The Fault In Our Stars
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
Chin Music 
Confessions of Joan The Tall

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9 Responses to “MUCKERS: When Your Town is About to Crumble, You Dig Deeper into the Muck and Find a Way to Win ~Sandra Neil Wallace”

  1. Sandra Neil Wallace Says:

    Hi, Patricia,

    Thanks for reviewing Muckers on your inspiring blog. I keep in touch with the the surviving players, many of whom ended up serving in the Korean War after their final football season. I still draw inspiration from them. ~Sandra

    patricia Reply:

    Sandra Neil Wallace,
    Thank you so much for coming by – my readers so enjoy when the authors drop in and comment.
    How wonderful to still be in touch with some of the players – they must be very inspiring.

    I am sorry to be so long in reply here – but I just needed a few days off and am now back with vigor!

    I hope your book does well. I gave my copy of the book to my Librarian daughter’s school and it has already been checked out 3 times. FYI

  2. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    Patricia — I’m not a sports fan, but after reading this excellent review, I think even I would enjoy the book!
    Laurie Buchanan recently posted..OUTSTANDING or OUT STANDING In Your FieldMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Laurie,
    It is as much about football as it is about a true historic event, and racism and poverty in the 40s.
    The author has a more sports orientated style of writing, and that took me a moment to get into, but I think lots of folks will like this read and especially some of those boys who think they don’t need to read now that they are teenagers!

    I think they should share it on ESPN

  3. Talon Says:

    Love reading true stories. Sounds fascinating, Patricia. Hope you and Zip had an amazing (and relaxing if at all possible) Thanksgiving!
    Talon recently posted..LambentMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Kim,
    I actually took a few days off – even from reading and just walked on the beach and went to a play. I feel like I have not “been on vacation” for years. I did not even cook for 8 days and that was quite good.

    I have a funny picture of Zip from his vacation at my daughter’s house I think he had a great time too! Now to get him back to his own bed at night!

    It is a very interesting read and I am giving it to my neighbor for her birthday and I also gave my copy to Librarian girl and it is going to be added to the library at her school – very good story

  4. Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours Says:

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

    patricia Reply:

    Heather J
    Welcome :)

  5. Sandra Neil Wallace, author of Muckers, on tour October/November 2013 | TLC Book Tours Says:

    […] Monday, November 25th:  Patricia’s Wisdom […]