Review by Nancy Evans, Nebraska Library Commission
When the University of Nebraska became the first, non-West Coast team to win a national championship in women’s volleyball in 1995, a reporter asked coach Terry Pettit a predictable question. How does it feel? Pettit gave an unpredictable answer, quoting a poet to describe the sweetness of victory. So what kind of book can you expect from such a literate and successful person? One that spans the horizon of literary styles, from essays and journalistic-style commentaries, to columns about trust, love, and coyotes in the backyard, to poems about time-outs and loss.
“They consider my voice
An inappropriate companion
To the pounding of the blood,
Hot with fatigue and disappointment.”
That is the beginning of a poem titled “After the Loss.” Pettit’s 151-page book, Talent and the Secret Life of Teams, is part biographical, providing an inner glimpse at the magical 1995 run to a national title and the extraordinary women on that team.