Sam the Athlete – Character Sketch

Character Sketch

                Sam the Athlete by Stuart McLean is a story that has a boy named Sam as the main character. In the beginning of said story, Sam wakes up one night and tells his mom that he needs new running shoes for his first school year in middle school. The next day, his mother bought him a new pair of red runners to replace his old, rundown white ones, after he put them on and left the store “In his imagination, Sam heard the abrupt bark of a gun going off in the distance, and he was off. He was so preoccupied with wind on his face . . . so captive with the beauty of his new shoes . . . that he ran right into a telephone pole. . . and as Sam sat on the sidewalk, his head in his hands, he was thinking that he should all along that the shoes weren’t going to help. . . It wasn’t that he was worried about the teachers, or the other kids. Mostly, it was about academics. And mostly it was about the most important academics class of them all – gym class.” (pg. 62-63). Sam was determined to excel in gym for his first year of middle school because he always sucked at it. He was hoping that he would find his dream sport with some help of his new shoes and from the sound of it in early years he always had a real struggle in find the right sport for him. As the story continues, it explains how so far in every sport Sam tries, he comes across an obstacle. For example, in hockey, Sam was never able to stop on his skates and then developed a method of turning in circles until he slowed down. However, playing hockey wasn’t a total lose because Sam wasn’t bad at being goalie. On Sam’s second week of middle school, he found out about the school’s field hockey and decided that he should join. On the first practice, the team’s coach had welcomed Sam on to the team which he appreciated. Then after about 30 minutes of play, Sam realizes that the entire team were girls because the coach had been calling Sam “Samantha” and he saw other players wearing scrunches or pink shirts under their helmets and gear. After it dawned on him, Sam wanted to silently leave the field and pretended that nothing happened. However, in the end, the coach said to him “Nice work, Samantha”, which was the phase he wanted to hear ever since his first soccer game. So he stayed on the team and pretended to be a girl. Through every practice, Sam became happy because after all those years, field hockey had been his sport and he was fine wearing the uniform skirt. No one really knew about him pretending to be a girl so he could play field hockey, until one day after dinner, Sam’s dad saw him practicing his moves in his bedroom, wearing the skirt. So then explained to his dad how he had been dressing up like a girl to play, and that he has no problem about it, except for not being honest. Though after his secret was out, Sam’s mom had found out it was okay for him to be on the field hockey team and that he could wear his short at the next practice. So, in conclusion Sam is ambitious, determined, honest and nervous throughout the story.