Jason Reynolds Wrote Ghost, Patina and Sunny about Me
Okay, truth is, I don’t know Jason Reynolds from a can of paint. However, his track series about four new runners on the Defenders youth track team take me down memory lane. I’ve made it through three of the four stories. GHOST is about Castle Crenshaw, aka Ghost, who is a natural talent battling behavioral problems. Although Ghost’s story is the typical story about a kid from the hood struggling to not let outcomes from his environment interfere with his athletic success, his emotions and developing love for track and field and his team remind me of when I joined my youth track club. PATINA focuses around Patina, aka Patty, and her love for her little sister, her adopted parents and her biological mother who is suffering from diabetes. To be honest, this book is probably the most scarily accurate depiction of my life, even though Patty always has this chip on her shoulder and not all black girls have this constant edge of bitterness to them. SUNNY is about well, Sunny, who struggles with his strained relationship with running the mile and his strained relationship with his father who has not healed from the death of Sunny’s mother who died at childbirth. SUNNY is the second scarily accurate book. The emphasis on his weirdness gives me comfort in my own weirdness.
Jason Reynold’s Track Series makes me reflect on myself, my track career and the people in my life. I would write it out in detail; but, I’m lazy. So, here’s a list.
That learning curve in starting track and field is insane.
Those first pair of running shoes feel like magic.
That first track meet is filled with screw ups.
My youth track club coach’s car is a mess of track and memories.
Sometimes my mom’s overprotectiveness can be annoying; but, I know that it is out of love.
Being the kid with not a lot of money, with messed up hair and with ill-fitted clothes can be rough.
I LOVE MY BABY SISTER!!!! The big age group between Sarah and I has made me more of a sister-mom over the years; but, she is my love.
My perfectionist nature makes me a sore loser.
Going to an all-white school is stressful when I constantly have to police my words and bite my tongue.
My all-girls school was filled with so many personalities and people who made it in the school as rich kids and kids of employees of the school.
I grew up in a working class neighborhood that wasn’t rich but wasn’t the hood either.
My thoughts are everywhere just like the journal style writing in SUNNY.
Making my father laugh is a rarity.
Weird is awesome and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
I make impulsive decisions like Sunny’s decision to change events on the team.
Despite my success in the sport, sometimes I just don’t like track and wish I could focus on my other talents.
There is a fourth book, LU, that I recommend my trackstars reading. The books are written for middle schoolers; but, I appreciate stories about trackstars like me and my readers and followers. Track and Field is this strange sport that goes under the radar far too often. When our stories are brought to the light, it is awesome to see just how similar all of our stories are and how many people love and respect our craft.