A lot of the other things on my list are much more serious topics and I feel like I've done a lot of that recently so today, I've chosen something that I'd like to see which isn't heavy. Sports in YA. I really like it. And I've been thinking about it recently ... I've always struggled to see myself and my experiences in the fiction that I read. There are't that many mixed race characters in YA novels and there are even fewer mixed-race Native Americans. So I go out of my way to read books about overly bookish characters or shy characters. I was always attracted to girl that shared my same interests and I was always very happy when the main characters loved to read or lived someplace that I recognised or did things that I could see myself doing. And all of that was my way of searching out reflections of myself and my life in what I've been reading.
And all the way through my childhood and teen years, I played every sport going. At different times of my life, I've been on a boxing team, a swimming team, basketball, softball, soccer, and track. Playing these sports certainly shaped the person that I've become and so I like it when I come across YA novels that go over some aspect of training for or playing sports. It reminds me of my memories of the sports and sports teams that I was on for so many years.
I remember how it felt to make it to the state championships in swimming the first year I joined the team, how it felt to go up against a particularly hard pitcher and not strike out in softball, I remember how it felt to successfully tackle an opponent when I was playing a defensive position in soccer and what it felt like to score my first basket in basketball. And at the same time, I remember being overly winded during practices and how my feet and legs always ached but we all carried on anyway and how all the girls would complain about the chlorine and what it did to our hair after swimming practice and how some teams felt more like family than it did a team. I remember the scared/panicky feelings every time those last few minutes of a basketball game would come around and it was all a bit tense if there wasn't many points between our team and the opposing team. And maybe it's just me but all those feelings I'd love to see more of in teen fiction...
Here are a few YA books that I've read that have elements of sports about them.
Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker by Miranda Keneally
The Ex Games by Jennifer Echols
Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
Girl Overboard by Justina Chen Headley
Fighting Ruben Wolfe by Markus Zusak
Would you like to see more sports in YA? Do you have any recommendations about great YA that involves sports?