The Ticket Out: Darryl Strawberry and the Boys of Crenshaw This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     The Ticket Out follows one of the most talented high-school athletic teams ever: the 1979 Crenshaw High School baseball team. They were a group of 16 and 17-year-olds who possessed talents most only dream about. Michael Sokolove gives insight into the team and their season, but a majority of the book is about the team members' later lives.

The big-name player on the team is future Major-Leaguer Darryl Strawberry. Even though Strawberry's name is in the title, the book is about the team, not just him. Sokolove shows how people live and survive in poorer neighborhoods like Crenshaw. Many kids on the team don't know their fathers and live with many relatives, or even in a neighbor's home because their family is gone.

He devotes little time to describing baseball, but when he does, he uses fantastic imagery and play-by-play description to depict every aspect of the game. In most of the baseball scenes, the reader can see the game play out in his or her head, from the team's jersey to each player's appearance.

The Ticket Out not only shows the hard work of the team, but also the intensity and determination of the coach to gain respect from other schools. Coach Brooks Hurst works the boys of Crenshaw to the extreme, and as a result they need an extra set of bleachers just for all the scouts.

In addition to describing the coach and how he pushes his team, Sokolove shows the effect the team has on the community. The boys give their town something to cheer about that no other city in California has. Their dedication to the team also keeps them off the streets and away from gangs and drugs, but unfortunately his efforts don't have much effect after they leave Crenshaw.

Sokolove gives a different view of Darryl Strawberry's life. He doesn't just show how Strawberry constantly messes up, even with all his help, but how his own family takes advantage of him. Darryl gives cars, money and even houses to family members, and they keep expecting him to provide these luxuries, even after his career takes a turn for the worse.

This a great book for any sports fan. Sokolove does a wonderful job writing about baseball, and I especially liked his interviews with the players. He travelled all over the country, from a naval base to a prison, to get the interviews that give the book a realistic feeling.

The Ticket Out also makes you rethink your own choices in life. It gives hope to those who don't think they can make anything of life if they are dealt a poor hand. The Boys of Crenshaw shows us that anything is possible if you want it enough to work hard.



This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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