I looked back at all of the highlighted quotes from Born a Crime by Trevor Noah and this was the one that stood out:
“Life was good and none of it would have happened without Andrew. Without him, I would never have mastered the world of music piracy and lived a life of endless McDonald’s. What he did, on a small scale, showed me how important it is to empower the dispossessed and the disenfranchised in the wake of oppression. Andrew was white. His family had access to education, resources, computers…People always lecture the poor: ‘Take responsibility for yourself! Make something of yourself!’ But with what raw materials are the poor to make something of themselves?…Working with Andrew was the first time in my life I realized you need someone from the privileged world to come to you and say, ‘Okay, here’s what you need, and here’s how it works.'”
The book highlight’s Noah’s experiences in South Africa as someone who grew up just after Apartheid who struggles to find a niche because his father was white and his mother was black. Noah has since gone onto great fame as a stand up comic and host of the Daily Show and his humor is on full display throughout the book. At the same time, there was great light shed on the correlation between race and class throughout this book which is largely why I chose this quote.
I think that the impact of a basketball coach regardless of the gender, level or ability of the players is capable of holding influence similar to the way that Noah has described Andrew here (of course the coach might want to dissuade the whole piracy career track and McDonald’s diet). I’ve always found as a coach I had one key piece of influence that I lack as a teacher – the kids actually want to be there. There is an opportunity to hold them accountable for school and life decisions where they otherwise might not pay any notice to them because of the power and influence of the coach. Of course you cannot take the “basketball” out of basketball practice, but there’s no reason that practice needs to apply strictly to basketball. Coaches can easily focus on the short term and on the record, but that’s only a small part of what the job is.
It is also important to distinguish that this influence over all gender, racial, and social lines is almost exclusive to basketball coaches. Hockey is a sport that precludes many from poorer demographics from even attempting because of the initial fees. Football, despite bringing the best television ratings of any American sport, is still overwhelmingly dominated by males and in recent years has faced its share of negative publicity. Baseball is a sport that lacks the star power right now and has seen diminished numbers of the African American players over the last two decades.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone as a cheap way to read and get a laugh. It would go well in combination with any read that is dry. I’d hardly list at the top of a must read for coaches manual, but there’s a reason it’s a best-seller. It’s a hilarious page turner.
This is the third of what I hope will be 37 books read by the Monday after Thanksgiving. If you have any suggestions for books worth reading please let me know.