Remembered Reading: S.O.R. Losers

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Posted: March 26, 2020

Category: Staff Picks

Despondent boys and happy cheerleaders sit in, on, and around a school busS.O.R. Losers by Avi was originally published in 1984 and has not been widely available since then. Still, the book has stuck in my memory over the years, and I re-read it a couple years ago courtesy of an interlibrary loan.

South Orange River Middle School has a proud sports tradition. All students are expected to play a team sport every year they attend S.O.R., and on the whole, the school’s teams perform very well.

But one year, the school administration realizes that a group of seventh-grade boys did not participate the previous year. To make up for the lapse, the school creates a soccer team from just those eleven boys and forces them to play.

The boys on the team have different interests and skills, and just have one thing in common: they dislike sports. None of them are particularly talented or skilled, and practices just confirm what they already know: their team isn’t good.

The team loses game after game as the players’ teachers, parents, and classmates continue to pressure them to work harder and win even a single game over the course of the season. But the players have no interest in doing so, and go as far as nicknaming their team the S.O.R. Losers.

S.O.R. Losers isn’t widely available. Two libraries in TRAC still own the book, and under normal circumstances GPPL staff members would be happy to bring it in for any interested readers.

For now, however, I suggest reading a modern equivalent such as Camp Average by Craig Battle.

When Mack and his friends run into a new camp director whose emphasis on sports threatens to ruin their entire summer, he decides that their teams should lose every game until the director changes his mind. Will Mack or the camp director win this battle of wills?

Camp Average is shelved upstairs in the juvenile sports section of the Children’s Department.

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