Sports journalist and author, Mike Lupica spoke with our 6th and 7th graders last Tuesday. He’s currently touring in support of his new book, No Slam Dunk. Mike spoke of his youth in Nashua, New Hampshire and his time at Boston College, where he honed his sports reporting skills. After graduation, he started working for the New York Post and later for the Daily News and ESPN.
All was well with his career until the day his oldest son told him he’d been cut from his town’s middle school travel basketball team because he was “too small.” The next day, while reporting on the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, he recounted the story to head coach, Jeff Van Gundy. The coach replied that a great story would be forming a new team made up of all the kids who were cut from the travel team who then went on to win the league championship. Mike did form the team. They didn’t win the championship but they did provide him with the inspiration to write his first book for young readers, Travel Team. which was published 15 years ago. He’s since written over 30 books.
One of the main themes in all his books is the idea that in sports and in life, everyone is going to fall down and that the most important thing is to keep getting back up. Perseverance is everything both on and off the court.
Mike used as an example his own attempts with Travel Team. He sat at his computer for months but wasn’t happy with anything that was coming out. But one day he typed: “He knew he was small. He just didn’t think he was small. Big difference.” Elements of those Travel Team opening lines infuse all of his work - he’d found his young readers voice. Thanks to Mike and to Wellesley Books for this excellent complementary presentation.