Hoop Dreams Essay, Research Paper
“Hoop Dreams” by Ben Joravsky, is about two kids Arthur Agee and William Gates who are just starting high-school and playing high-school basketball. These two kids from the projects of Chicago’s West Side are chasing their dreams of playing basketball in the NBA, and making it through life. Both of their lives are playing basketball, but they both face problems with their families, school and basketball. Throughout the entire book troubles and joys of both the player’s life and basketball career from selecting a high-school to the end of their senior year at high-school.
At the beginning of the book both Arthur and William are scouted playing basketball on the courts in their neiborhood to play at basketball powerhouse St. Joseph, that is a private Catholic school in the suburbs of Chicago. Both Arthur and William were very surprised to think that a school of that caliber would want them. If they decided to go to St. Joseph it would mean that they would both have to commute a very long way in the morning on the way to school, keep their grades up, and this would cause a big financial strain on both of their families. At first the both sets of parents seemed shocked that a school like St. Joseph would want two kids from the ghetto to play basketball for them. Mrs. Agee said, “I have heard of stories like this before where the school would suck the family in and when they could not keep up with tuition they were kicked out of the school.” (p. 43) St. Joseph said that they could not promise that this would not happen, but they could give scholarships if their sons were willing to work for them and keep passing grades. Both families said that they were willing to give up a lot of time, effort and money to have their sons go to a good school.
When they both started school they had a hard time getting used to it. It was a lot harder than their old schools. They both worked very hard at first, but then Arthur started to slip and was falling behind in school. William was doing very good and got a full scholarship sponsored by a company. Since Arthurs grades were dropping, he lost some money given by the school. One of his teachers said, “Saint Joes must think you are a pretty good ball player, if they let you in here with these grades.” (p. 89) His parents had a hard time paying and Arthur was asked to leave until they paid the school. Arthur was out of school for two weeks before was let back and then he was asked to leave again because of the money situation. The Agee family gave up on St. Joes and transferred Arthur to Marshall. Before Arthur could start Marshall he had to wait two months until the next semester started. The point of this part in the story is that nothing comes free. The only way to get through life is to work hard and stay on top of things.
The senior year for both was a difficult year. Arthur found out that he did not have enough credits to graduate, because he did not finish his religion classes at St. Joes he lost those credits. He also failed a class. William was still at St. Joes with good grades but he got his girlfriend pregnant. He was not sure if he could continue school and keep up his grades being a father. What they both learned was to look ahead and make plans for the future and don’t wait for the future to come bring bad news.
I think this story showed a good image on the American Dream. Both boys had to go through very hard times. It was not given to them free. William worked hard to earn it and went to college on a free ride. Arthur thought basketball and slacking off would get him through life when all it got him was a job at McDonalds flipping burgers. You work hard in life, and you will be rewarded. Slack off in life and you will have to work hard the rest of your life.