I grew up in a small town in Ohio where high school basketball was king. I’m reminded of that as high school basketball tournaments begin this weekend.
Of course, any thoughts of basketball remind me of my Ebook, “The Phantom Five,” The setting is 1942. For my protagonist Manny, the worst time in his life is the day when President Roosevelt announces the country is at war and his brother joins the Marines. The second worst day is when he doesn’t make the reserve basketball team with his best friends. He will do anything to keep his friends. When the sports editor of the Daily News tells his readers he will print news and scores from all the local high schools, Manny sees the opportunity to give his friends recognition in the community. But, then he’s told the private school isn’t big enough for any stories. To get even with the sports editor, Manny asks his friends to help create a fictitious team that soon has the best record in the state. The joke goes sour. Manny pays the consequence.
The story is about basketball, but also the history of country during the war. There is food and gas rationing. Manny’s father is an air raid warden. His sister is collecting is collecting scrap metal to be used to build military equipment.
More than a story about basketball, this book gives the young readers a glimpse of the past, a chance to identify with someone their age who then had the same fears, hopes and dreams they have today.