Knights of the Hill Country by Tim Tharp This book was published in 2006. About a week ago I saw this book mentioned on Lori's blog Get in the Game- Read. It reminded me that I wanted to read Knights of the Hill Country. Now I am very thankful for that reminder because it was a wonderful book. Hampton is a straight talker, with a Midwest twang. Like Texas, in Oklahoma football is only second to God, the book opens with Hampton speaking of the pressure his teammates face trying to go undefeated for a fifth season.
"Every game this season, the pressure weighed down more and more. It was carrying around a sack full of rocks, only every time you got to thinking you could lay it down, someone would throw another sack full of bigger rocks up on top of you. If we could keep it going this would be Kennisaw's fifth undefeated season in a row. For thirty some years, no knights team had strung together that many wins, and them old-time players from back then was still heroes around the hill country of eastern Oklahoma. More than just.hereos, they were flat out legends"
Hampton understands at the end of the season, his team will either be legends or weighed down for life by one loss. This book is about so much more than football. Tharp gives us all the sides of Hampton. He's a star on the football field but doesn't let it go to his head. He is quiet guy, who has trouble finding the right answers in class or the right words for girls. He's loyal to his best friend Blaine and his father, even though it might time to for some distance. He likes Sara, a girl his friends wouldn't approve of.
"But the way she looked at me, it was like she seen something in me nobody else did. I wasn't sure what it was she seen, but it felt good, like stepping out on the porch on a summer morning and its already warm. A whole new day waiting on you. Course, that wasn't something I could tell her. I could bowl over a hundred blockers and plow down quarterback after quarterback, but I couldn't hardly say two words to this little five foot four inch tall girl."
Tharp has written a wonderful story about change, consequences and choices. I highly recommand The Knights of the Hill Country. There is so much to love about it. Ages 11up
Q&A with Tharp
Bookslut in Training review