The Nearmont High School football season looks promising. The entire town expects great things from them --- Division, even State Championships --- and the team is on track for just such a season when they take off for preseason camp: two-a-day practices, morning wakeup calls, and Raider Pride Night, the traditional freshman initiation. Unfortunately, the ritual goes places it never should in ways that might compromise their entire season and ruin any chances they might have in college football and the pros.
"The biggest enemy of best is good. If you're satisfied with what's good, you'll never be the best."
Those words atop the Jerry Rice poster over Matt Rydeck's bed tell him everything he needs to know about football and life. He has to be willing to do what it takes, no matter what --- even if that involves staying loyal to his drug-using friends and even if that means using illegal steroids and Vicodin himself. They're supposed to take away the pain and help him heal faster. In the midst of all that, Matt would love to have a girl he could actually talk to, not just the typical girls who will follow any star receiver home after a party. He wants something more, someone with whom he can share his problems.
What would Matt's life be like without all the stress? Without having to hide what really happened that night at camp? Without the responsibility that comes with being team captain? Without the baggage of former one-night flings? With Dad in his face loading on the pressure to succeed, Matt needs a way out of his slowly suffocating world, and breaking a few rules and hearts seems like the only way out of town, to a life with a little more freedom.
In RAIDERS NIGHT, Robert Lipsyte has taken the experiences of "world-class athlete and sports psychiatrist" Michael J. Miletic, M.D. and re-molded them into a gripping story that's as fictional as it is real. The insider knowledge offers a glimpse into the competitive world of high school football players who are doing everything they can to make it to college and the pros, while at the same time navigate the complex webwork of their lives.
Reviewed by Jonathan Stephens on October 18, 2011
- Publication Date: August 1, 2006
- Genres: Fiction
- Hardcover: 232 pages
- Publisher: HarperTeen
- ISBN-10: 0060599464
- ISBN-13: 9780060599461