Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Coach: Lessons on the Game of Life 

Trite as it is, this slim volume about Lewis' childhood coach is never a bore

Wednesday, May 25 2005
By Michael Lewis

W.W. Norton (2005), $12.95

Coach is Michael Lewis' ode to his high school baseball coach, Billy Fitzgerald, a martinet of the old school who taught his players "how to cope with the two great enemies of a well-lived life, fear and failure" but who's now besieged by the kind of parents who think their kid should be playing shortstop. The book's 93 pages (adapted from a magazine article) are entirely predictable. There are life lessons, fondly recalled crucibles, salty bits of locker room wisdom, and all too many photos (some by Lewis' wife, former MTV personality Tabitha Soren) of generalized adolescent frolic. The pictures signal that we are now in Hallmark country: Coach isn't so much a short book as it is a long Father's Day card.

"Coach Fitz" would harangue his players, once spiking a second-place trophy off the gym floor. But he'd also appeal to them with Aesop and Mark Twain, his lessons centering on What It Means to Be a Man. Lewis writes: "What it meant to be a man was that you struggled against your natural instinct to run away from adversity. You battled." This is nothing new, of course. What's odd is that the author of Moneyball, a great work of clearheaded myth-busting, is turning to such well-trod ground; odder still that he's indulging in the sort of wistfulness and nostalgia he once so ably eviscerated. But Lewis is a talented storyteller -- trite as it is, the book is never a bore. And if the publication of such a trifle means Lewis now has the clout to explore his every whim, we're better off for it.

About The Author

Tommy Craggs


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment


  • Trixxie Carr Presents: Maneater at Oasis
    January 14, 2015 was the first night of Trixxie Carr Presents: Maneater at Oasis in San Francisco. Photos by Calibree Photography.
  • No Pants BART Ride 2015 - NSFW
    The No Pants BART Ride commenced on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. Participants rode without pants, and at the end of the ride they disembarked at The Mission to bar hop, eat burritos and take selfies. Photos by Richard Haick.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed