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Reviewed by Geoff Habiger for Readers' Favorite
What does it take to make a championship team? More than any single individual’s accomplishments, building a team that performs well game after game is a tough challenge. In Perfect: The Building of a Championship Culture, we learn what it takes, mentally and physically, to create that culture. In this case, it is about the championship season that the Darlington Tigers (from Rome, Georgia) had in 1998 and the culture that created a championship high school football team. Beth Green presents the events of the Tigers' 1998 season from the unique perspective as the wife of one of the Darlington coaches. Beth Green provides us with a bit of background on the school at Darlington, on the players that made up the 1998 team, and on the coaches. This information is given from interviews and recounting anecdotes from the players and coaches alike, interspersed with historical commentary. Most chapters end with a Championship Trait where Beth identifies a key component necessary to create a championship team. Most of the chapters are focused on individual games during the 1998 season and Beth gives us some background on the players and coaches and what they did during the game.
What stood out to me was the description of the championship game. Beth’s style here of transitioning between detailed descriptions of the game from the players' and coach’s perspectives, to her own experience listening to the game at home made the tension of the game come to life. Finally, I enjoyed the advice that Beth gives in Appendix B (Football Time: A Wife’s Perspective) and found it useful not only for wives but husbands too. Perfect: The Building of a Championship Culture is a good book that gets the reader into the heart of the 1998 championship Darlington Tigers football team. Beth Green doles out championship wisdom along with the history of Darlington’s 1998 season. While I think a story-like retelling of the season would have made for a more powerful story, Beth does a good job of ratcheting up the tension especially for the final game. If you enjoy football, then you will enjoy Perfect.