Happy book birthday to Free Throws, Friendship, and Other Things We Fouled Up

On the day Free Throws, Friendship, and Other Things We Fouled Up hits bookshelves, I’m taking a moment to reflect on who I wrote this book for.

Do one of these kids sound like someone you know?

Or perhaps even someone you once were?

Free Throws, Friendship, and Other Things We Fouled Up is for the kid who once loved something but decided they couldn’t do it anymore if they weren’t the best at it.

But it’s also for the kid who succeeded at something only to find their identity so entwined with the thing they’re good at thatthey start to think it’s all they are or all they could be.

It’s for the kid who doesn’t understand the decisions their parents make and feels abandoned, and the kid whose parents are so consumed with their work that they’ve stopped seeing them and what they’re going through.

It’s for the outwardly awkward kid and the kid whose awkwardness lurks on the inside but is there all the same.

It’s for the kid who’s had to move around a bunch and doesn’t know where to call home anymore. And it’s also for the kid who’s only known one home their whole life and yearns for a change of scenery.

It’s for the kid in a longtime friendship, struggling with new feelings of jealousy or insecurity who doesn’t know how to articulate them and acts out instead.

It’s for anyone who’s ever made a mistake and still needs to apologize. And it’s for the ones who deserved one, years ago, and are still waiting.

It’s for the kids who live in smaller cities that aren’t often represented in books and movies but that thrum with an energy all their own and hold so much meaning for their citizens.

It’s for anyone who’s ever felt a part of something bigger than themself–not just basketball.

And, of course, it’s for those who only sleep in May.*

This book, like the four that came before it, began as something just for me. But starting today and for however long it stays in print, it belongs to the readers who discover it and forge a connection with the printed word on the page or the performances in the audiobooks.

Starting today, it’s no longer mine; it’s yours.

*if you know what this means, you are a true college basketball fan and/or Jon Rothstein

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