We’re excited to welcome T. Glen Coughlin, author of ONE SHOT AWAY, to the blog today and to get a peek into Diggy Masters’ diary…
Diary entry: October 23rd
The season starts next month. No one knows that better than me, but my father has to remind me every ten minutes when he’s in the house and I’m in the house. Solution: I make myself scarce. You would think that it’s so easy living on a golf course, right? I mean, you look out the window and you get to see the golfers standing around their carts, sometimes putting and taking swings. But, for me, it’s a reminder. You see, my father he’s like a fixture at the 19th hole. That’s what they call the bar. Clever right, yeah, for about two nano seconds. Anyway, my father got permission for me to jog at the golf course. I’m supposed to run along the exterior fence. Once around is five miles. I start out okay, then around the first mile I start thinking about all the other things I could be doing, like hanging out with some friends, or going to Ruby Tuesday’s at the mall and eating, or grazing the salad bar, then ordering the Ruby Red Steak Sandwich. My favorite.
Diary entry: October 25th
Uh Oh, I just weighed myself on the basement scale. It’s one of those with the moveable weights that you see in the doctor’s office. Only the best for the Master boys (I’ll tell you about that later.) Anyway, I was 162. I’m 10 pounds over my weight class. I’m lucky my dad doesn’t know, but I’m sure he suspects. We have a full weight room in my basement. The walls are mirrored, so I pulled my shirt off. Man, I looked a little large around the midsection. That’s the way my mother would say it. She’s pretty sweet and has a good heart. She doesn’t care if I wrestle; all she wants me to do is get good grades in school and “be a good son.” She says that a lot. “Oh, Diggy, just be a good son.” If my father saw my belly, he’d say I was a pig, then he’d start oinking and snorting until I’d get my sweats on and go out the golf course.
Diary entry: October 27th
My brother doesn’t call home much and a lot of times he doesn’t return my texts. His name is Nick and I miss him. Okay, I said it. You see, I know that Nick is hurting and that hurts me. My brother was a big deal in high school. He won the New Jersey States four times, 9th grade, 10th grade, 11th grade and his senior year. If you don’t know anything about wrestling, you can’t appreciate how hard this is to do. Winning the NJ States four times in a row has only been done by two other wrestlers. Let me put it a different way, it’s about as hard to do this as win an Olympic Gold medal. My brother won a full wrestling scholarship to Iowa State. The first year he was body slammed and slipped a disk in his back. He couldn’t recover enough to continue wrestling. Man, he lost his scholarship and left the college. Now, he’s like a different person. He’s majoring in something related to biology and all he does is study and go to the library. No one knows he’s Nick Masters, the master of all wrestling moves, the undefeated champion of the town, the district, the county, and the State. My father doesn’t talk to him anymore. He watches Nick’s videos and sips this really expensive booze that comes in a bottle shaped like a bowling pin. My mother she’s like a double agent, giving love to both sides and then there’s me. I’m supposed to be the new Nick, the prodigy. Maybe I don’t feel like it, okay? Is that okay with you? Huh?
ONE SHOT AWAY by T. Glen Coughlin (Goodreads)
336 pages, hardcover
Available now (October 2012)
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review
It’s senior year and the last season for Diggy, Jimmy, and Trevor on the Molly Pitcher High School varsity wrestling team. And they all want the same thing: to win.
But Diggy’s got to compete with his older brother’s legacy, and now he’s in danger of losing his spot to newcomer Trevor. Jimmy’s got the cops after him, and a girlfriend who looks down on him. Then Diggy does the unthinkable—he betrays a teammate. Can the team forgive him? And can he forgive himself?
Experience the pressure with Diggy, Jimmy, and Trevor as the stakes rise and loyalties splinter. They’ve got just one shot to make weight and get onto the mat. But pinning your opponent is about more than just winning.
This was my first wrestling story and I really enjoyed it! Actually, this year, I’ve learned a lot about wrestling, as a couple of my students are wrestlers on our high school team (I recommended this book to them, btw. They were pretty darned excited that there was a book about their sport out there! Of course, there are some others but they’re few and far between.).
ONE SHOT AWAY follows the trials and tribulations (of which there are many!) of three young wrestlers, Diggy, Jimmy and Trevor. They fiercely competitive, driven to succeed not just by themselves but by those around them. Their home lives are not perfect (uhg, there was one parent I wanted to smack upside the head multiple times!) and that makes their school and competitive lives more difficult.
I loved the reality of this story. The school I teach in is pretty rough and our students have difficulties and pressures outside the classroom which really effect their performance and self-esteem (actually, this goes for all students, no matter where they go to school and what background they might have). So, I particularly appreciated these flawed characters who did the best with what they had. More books like this, please!
Available on Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Indiebound
About T. Glen Coughlin:
Coughlin’s first novel, The Hero of New York, was finished when he was 23 years old and explored the dark side of the middle class suburban dream. New York Times reviewer, Dennis Smith (1986) wrote, “The Hero of New York is solid tough-guy entertainment, and Mr. Coughlin’s descriptions can be hilarious.”
Coughlin’s second novel, Steady Eddie, is a coming-of-age story set in Long Island, New York in 1977. George Needham wrote “Coughlin neatly captures a person’s essence in the simplest gesture, but each character is drawn with sympathy and wit, even when the characters themselves lack these attributes. A fine novel.”
Coughlin has published short stories in Doubletake Magazine, the South Dakota Review and DUCTS, an on-line magazine. His story, “The Grief Committee” was analyzed in The Politics of Mourning: Grief Management in a Cross-Cultural Fiction. Coughlin”s poetry has appeared in The Dead Mule – School of Southern Literature and Hanging Moss Journal.
In 2012, Coughlin published his first YA novel, One Shot Away, A Wrestling Story, Harpercollins. The novel is the story of three high school wrestlers trying to balance their personal lives, family conflicts and maintain their weight class on the Varsity Squad.
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