In Ray’s high school, the Polish kids to go out for wrestling and the black kids to play basketball. Ray has tried out for the basketball team but gets cut all the time. Pruze, Ray's friend, wants Ray to play in a summer league to practice for the upcoming tryouts. During the summer Ray meets some good players such as Robert. Ray’s mom expresses concern that he’s hanging out with black people from the basketball team. Ray’s best friend, Walter, doesn't like Ray’s teammates either. But Ray wants to play varsity basketball his final year in high school. This time Ray has a chance. The new coach seems to pick guys who can get the job done instead of picking favorites. Ray makes the team! However, Rudy a star black player was cut. People thought that Ray took Rudy's spot. After the cuts, Rudy and friends make fun of Ray during the games which Walter answers with racial chants. Throughout the book Robert and Ray have trouble with each other due to the fact they are equally good ball players but they are of different races. Also Robert is mad that Ray took Rudy's spot on the basketball team. Throughout the struggle Coach Thomas tries to maintain peace between the two races, punishing whoever steps out of line. Racial tension fills the school school between the Poles and the blacks, and Ray is even accused of being prejudice when his former coach tells him,"'You think because you play some basketball with a few African American students you aren't prejudice'"(245). In the end, Ray is forced to choose between his black friends on the basketball team and his ethnic friends in his neighborhood.
1. The book is filled with racial tension and focuses on the fact that it is prevalent in high school. In your opinion, do kids at Mentor High School actually racist and have prejudice views, or do they mostly joke around with the matter?
2. In the story a huge racial tension builds up. Ray must choose between the people he has more in common with but are racially different and the people who share his race but have different characteristics. Who would you side with and Why?