An Unlikely Season

Destined, From Tykes to Titans, A Season Unbound

Non-Fiction - Sports
124 Pages
Reviewed on 09/06/2017
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Author Biography

First-time author and head coach, Roy Rhino is a USC graduate who dedicated his life to bring a championship football season to the Gladstone Gladiator football program. Facing many obstacles, he pulled through to win the honor of San Gabriel Valley, Coach of the Year in 1977. Roy went on to become very successful in real estate, and now lives the high life in Newport Beach.
First-time author James Joyce grew up on the border of Azusa and Covina, California. He was one of only a few players to ever be bestowed the honor of being first team All-League on both offense (junior year) and defense (senior year). After high school James went on to become successful in sales, and now lives near his children in Oregon.
J.R. (Jeff) Wirth grew up in the little town of Azusa, California. He has written several books, none more passionately than “Destined.” As the unlikely quarterback of the Gladiators, he shows his warm regard to the coaches and players he suited up with in An Unlikely Season.
Books by J.R. Wirth
Twisted Family Holidays series: The Town Beneath The Christmas Tree, Good Friday: Dreams and Nightmares, The Seers: Love and Terror on the Fourth of July, Destiny’s Lot: A Halloween Love Story, The Town Around the Christmas Tree: Jacob’s Message. The Twisted Family Holidays Collection anthology. Jimmy’s Christmas Present. Code Readhead (Day of the Dead)—Books To Go Now

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

An Unlikely Season: Destined, From Tykes to Titans, A Season Unbound is a non-fiction sports memoir written by J.R. Wirth, James (Jim) Joyce and Roy Rhino. The 1977 Gladstone Gladiators football season should not have been anything memorable, judging from the team’s dismal performance in the past. As one of his fellow Gladstone High teachers remarked to Coach Roy Rhino, “This school is full of nothing but losers.” But something special happened that season, something that even forty years later seems to stand out. It was a perfect storm of talent, energy, resilience and team spirit that forged the Gladiators into a force to be reckoned with -- it made them champions. An Unlikely Season is written by three of the men who played major roles during that season: Jeff Wirth, a junior who Rhino described as “the smartest quarterback that I coached in my 12 years"; Jim Joyce, one of the very talented senior level athletes who initially resented the influx of juniors on the team until they realized those juniors were kindred and awesomely talented players; and Coach Roy Rhino.

J.R. Wirth, James (Jim) Joyce and Roy Rhino’s sports memoir will convert anyone who’s ever wondered at all the fuss about high school sports in general, and football in particular. Wirth is the first voice heard in this engaging and well-written book, and he quickly had me following his story as he ruefully accounts his accident-prone childhood and, later, his development into a first-class football and baseball athlete. Joyce’s portion helped me gain a better perspective of the varsity team and how it functioned and grew to accept the dynamic and very talented juniors. Coach Rhino’s account of his drive to be the best coach he could be and his non-stop focus on continuing education to that effect is fascinating. I loved reading about his academic studies, enrollment in a football book club, and weekend clinics which all helped him become the best of all possible coaches for this team. His dedication and commitment to the sport and his athletes is inspiring and so very moving.

I particularly appreciated the fact that each of the accounts was concerned with the injuries that players are prone to, especially concussion, and discussed the move from brute strength tactics to better, safer strategies. This is an exciting book that makes the reader feel as though they were present during the games described by these authors, and it belongs in the library of anyone interested in football or having anything to do with the sport. An Unlikely Season: Destined, From Tykes to Titans, A Season Unbound is most highly recommended.

Jeffrey R. Wirth

I an a little biased but I find the review perfectly fitting.