There are many reasons why people write. It's cathartic, for one. You can get off your chest whatever's been eating at you. You can be the hand of justice and dish out rewards and penalties like the gods of ancient Greece. Some people write simply to tell a good story. They have imaginations that cannot stop. There are stories in their heads, relentless, begging to get out. And then others write because they have learned something, and they have something to say. They have wisdom that can only truly be learned the hard way, through painful experience.
Pat Conroy is someone who writes for all of these reasons. He exorcises his demons of a painful childhood through words. He examines himself, his heart, his motives, his view on reality, through words. It is through words that he discovers who he is and what his place is in this world. In his non-fiction book, My Losing Season, he carries the reader back to his Citadel days when he was point guard for the Bulldogs basketball team. His team members suffered under a man they called "coach." His team lost that season, badly. For many, their lives were changed because of it.
Mr. Conroy appears to have written My Losing Season for himself, for his teammates, but also for us, the readers. He wrote the book for us, so that we may learn the hard lessons he learned that season, about losing, about rising up again, about holding on to that which cannot be touched--what is inside us. I have a confession to make: I do not know sports, not a lick. But this book about basketball touched my spirit, the writer in me. Mr. Conroy compares his season as a point guard to his position in this world as a novelist. The book is a valuable tool for anyone, especially writers, who need to prepare themselves for winning--and losing--seasons. Because we all must get up and get back on the court. It is our fate. Thank you, Mr. Conroy.