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Reviewed by Karen Pirnot for Readers' Favorite
In Backspin, author Pete Strobl has written a chronology of his years playing in the European basketball league. He takes the reader through his years playing at Niagara University in the USA and then to the moment when he realizes he is not NBA material. On a tip from another player, Strobl finds an agent to promote him to the European basketball league and his adventures begin. He takes us through France, Austria, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland and "Points North." In a sense, the book becomes a personal travelogue of trials and tribulations of a young man unprepared to work and live in a foreign country.
It is evident that the author is young and inexperienced, but he stays the course and begins to gradually adapt to other cultures. At first he is angry and ill-at-ease that other countries are not America; but then he takes a healthier and more positive approach, realizing that just because things are different, it does not make them worse. Although Backspin takes over a decade of author Strobl's life, it seems that it took that long for the young player to season into a mature adult ready to see life as it is rather than as he wants it to be. In that respect, Strobl's short Backspin stories are gems, intended to help him see past the immediate barriers of life and to dig in and do the work essential to making a positive life. If you are really into basketball, this will be a fast-paced book. If not a fan, you may struggle through the dozens of unfamiliar names and situations. I liked the book simply for the fact that the author grew up along the way and that in itself is a good life lesson.