Lipsyte, Robert. 2006. Raider’s Night.
First of all, I should probably mention that I am not really a sports person. So I checked out RAIDER’S NIGHT without really reading what it was about, I chose it simply because it made the Librarians’ Choices 2006 list. So when I read that it was a book about football players doing drugs and taking steroids, I was skeptical at best. But it is a well-written novel. If a writer can make me look past the fact that most of the action occurring revolves around sports--whether it is playing, training, or talking--then it is saying something. Seriously. So I was pleasantly surprised that I got anything positive from this novel. Now I know there are many people--adults and teens--who would seek out a sports related novel on purpose. They would actually like it because of the content instead of in spite of the content. But let me begin. Matt Rydek is one of the captains on his football team. It is his senior year, and as the school year approaches he is more than ready for the upcoming season. True at one time he would have preferred playing baseball to football, he has found something he excels at. Thanks to a little help from a fitness trainer who keeps him and his team well supplied with prescription painkillers and steroids. But as training season begins, Matt has no idea what is ahead of him. When his co-captain--an obnoxious jerk--Ramp rapes (with a baseball bat) one of the sophomore students newly transferred to the school and the football team, Matt is one of the senior witnesses. And perhaps more importantly, as captain of the team he bears the responsibility of seeing that justice is done. The rest of the players were blindfolded. Thus begins Matt’s ethical and moral dilemma. Does he ruin the team’s season before it really even gets a chance to begin? Does he throw away his opportunities to impress college scouts? Does he let down the whole team? the whole administration? the whole student body? Does being a team player mean looking out for the whole team? or for each member of the team? As his selfishness wages war with his conscience the reader is along for the ride. What are the consequences of staying silent? And what will happen if he comes forward?