Tantorious is a semi-monthly podcast series featuring interviews with well-known authors, hosted by Allan Hoving and presented by Tantor Audio.
Chris Ballard is a senior writer at Sports Illustrated and was a 2012 National Magazine Award finalist. He is the author of The Art of a Beautiful Game, The Butterfly Hunter, and Hoops Nation. His new book, One Shot at Forever: A Small Town, an Unlikely Coach, and a Magical Baseball Season, tells the inspirational story of a high-school baseball team from rural Illinois in 1971. Led by an English teacher with no coaching experience, the Macon Ironmen emerged from a field of 370 teams to become the smallest school in Illinois history to make the state final, a distinction that still stands.
Excerpts from the audio interview:
Q: This story is 40 years old. What made you write about it now?
A: I got an email from someone who had been ten years old when this story took place, and had watched this through the eyes of a boy – this incredible run the team went on – and he had looked up to them as heroes. When I eventually met Coach Lynn Sweet, I was sold on it as a great story about how these guys held on to the memories of that season and how you could refract it through the prism of history.
Q: What themes still resonate today?
A: I hear from coaches and teachers who say this is how we should be teaching kids today; from old high-school athletes who had a similar transcendent experience. Some people just love the cinematic narrative. For me, it was a chance to look at how the experience affected all their lives – how memories are kept alive.
Listen to a sample of the Tantor audiobook edition of One Shot at Forever, narrated by Mike Chamberlain.
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