“’I can’t sleep…. I need new sneakers’” (pg. 59) is not something that a 12-year-old boy would normally say in the middle of the night. For Sam, it appears to be the only thing that mattered. Shoes that would fit in, not just fit. In Stuart McLean’s story “Sam the Athlete”, Sam is just starting Middle School, and is concerned about adjusting to this new chapter of life. I imagine Sam as being a short, skinny boy, who has an impish face, and can be mischievous. He doesn’t know what his strengths are, he only knows his weakness’s. When he saw the poster for field hockey tryouts he immediately thought to himself “Hockey without skates…. this is the sport he had been looking for all his life.” (pg.66) It didn’t matter what sport Sam was playing, because all he wanted to be was an athlete. “It was the first time anyone had welcomed Sam to a team, ever” (pg. 67) The story suggests that Sam is outgoing, but doesn’t quite know how to express himself until the end of the story when he dives for the ball, and makes a game winning save. In that moment, Sam thought that there might be a silver lining to the future, even if he never quite understood the rules.
Stuart McLean is a Canadian storyteller, who captures the hearts of many with his captivating stories. May he rest in peace.