Book Excerpt: 'My Losing Season'

ByABC News via GMA logo
October 14, 2002, 3:26 PM

Oct. 15 -- Writer Pat Conroy says he was born to be a point guard but not a very good one. In his new book, My Losing Season, Conroy revisits his basketball team's losing season (1966-67) at The Citadel, a military college in Charleston, S.C.

Conroy, who wrote the Great Santini (1976) and The Prince of Tides (1986), remembers his life as an athlete in his latest book.

The author says he ironically remembers his team's losing season as the happiest year of his life. Being part of a dysfunctional team, he recalls, was a welcome respite from The Citadel's typical plebe-system routine.

In My Losing Season, Conroy explores how young men become devoted to one another during what may seem like the worst of times. Read an excerpt from My Losing Season below.

Chapter 1: Before First Practice

It was on the morning of October 15, 1966, that the final season officially began. For a month and a half, my teammates and I had gathered in the field house to lift weights, do isometric exercises, and scrimmage with each other. Right off, I could tell our sophomores were special and were going to make our team faster, scrappier, and better than the year before. In the heat of September, there was a swiftness and feistiness to the flow of these pickup games that was missing in last year's club. My optimism about the coming season lifted perceptibly as I observed my team beat up on each other in the vagrancy of our uncoached and unmonitored scrimmages.

I could feel the adrenaline rush of excitement begin as I donned my cadet uniform in the dark, and it stayed with me as I marched to mess with R Company. I could barely concentrate on the professors' voices in my classes in Coward Hall as I faced the reality of the new season and stared at the clock with impatience. It was my fourth year at The Citadel and the fourth time October 15 had marked the beginning of basketball practice. Mel Thompson was famous for working his team hard on the first day and traditionally ran us so much that the first practice was topped off by one of us vomiting on the hardwood floor.