Do you believe Mr. Ross left Danny off the team just because of his height?
Mr Ross said that he wanted the travel team to "get bigger" and this initially seems to be the truth, and might explain why a very talented but very short player like Danny would be left off the team. However, Mr Ross has a long history with Richie Walker, Danny's father, and was very jealous of his talent and the attention it received. It sometimes appears that he spent the rest of his life trying to prove to his town that he has achieved more than Richie and that despite his playing second best to Richie in their basketball years he is definitely enjoying the upper hand now. Although Danny is undeniably short for his age he is also prodigiously talented which can make it appear that Mr Ross is using the opportunity to leave him out of the team as an opportunity to passively-aggressively get his own back on Richie for being much better at basketball in their youth.
Do you think you have to understand basketball to appreciate the novel?
Although an understanding of basketball is helpful when it comes to the chapters dealing with specific games, or basketball plays, this is a novel about the triumph of the underdog and in this way the basketball is really a peripheral element of the story which is actually far more to do with determination, overcoming the odds and the fairy-tale aspect of sports which allow the "right" people to win and give the less likeable characters their just desserts. Basketball is definitely the common ground between Danny and his father but it is not necessary for the reader to understand the basketball terminology,as long as they understand the reason for father and son to be using it - they want to communicate with each other but are both guarded when it comes to expressing their feelings. This can be understood with or without an understanding of the terms they are using.
How are the female characters in the novel are pivotal to the success of the male characters?
Although the main characters in the novel are male, and the story is about their passion for basketball and their goal of winning the League, it is the female characters who actually make this goal possible. Danny's mother, Ali, is the cheer squad Danny needs to keep his spirits up and also the rock that Richie relies upon even though they are no longer married. It is also Ali who acts the role of coach in Richie's place when Danny takes over as Warriors'coach. When Danny needs someone to keep the game on track it is his special friend Tess who does this, and it is also Tess who comes up with most of the plans that will get the team where they want to go. Finally Colby becomes a member of the team without are whom they actually have no chance of winning as she is more gifted than any of the players other than Danny. Whilst it might appear at first that the female characters are merely supporting the male ones, it is actually the other way around as it is they who create the situations that enable the Vikings to play well enough to achieve their ultimate goal of both playing in the travel league and bearing the team that had left Danny out in the first place.
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