Book review: ‘Snubbed’ captures St. Bona’s underdog essence – Buffalo News
The 2015-16 St. Bonaventure basketball season made an indelible mark in the hearts and minds of Bona faithful.
It was a surprising, heartwarming and uplifting season, despite the fact it ended in disappointment. Yet that unhappy ending only makes the ties that bind Bonnies even tighter.
The season is affectionately relived in a new book, â€œSnubbed: A basketball season of triumph, crisis and despair at St. Bonaventure Univeristy.â€
Itâ€™s written by one of Bonaâ€™s distinguished journalism alums, Brian Toolan, who as an editor at the Hartford Courant helped that paper win a Pulitzer Prize in 1999.
Toolanâ€™s strength is perspective. He articulates a wonderful grasp of the essence of the university and how the basketball program is ingrained in the fabric of its students, alumni and community.
The bookâ€™s angle is to juxtapose the basketball season against the backdrop of the universityâ€™s economic straits. Like many small, private institutions, Bona is wrestling with an enrollment crisis. Itâ€™s enrollment last year of just 1,687 made it the third smallest school in all of Division I basketball, behind only Presbyterian and Wofford.
A quote from Bona Faculty Senate member Barry Gan helps set the scene: â€œMy guess is thereâ€™s probably no school in the country that spends one-seventh of its budget on athletics.â€
The tangible and intangible implications of this are fleshed out in interesting detail and interspersed with the tale of the 2015-16 season. That makes this not the typical sports book. The focus is not the human-interest stories of the players but the Herculean effort required by Bona to maintain a toe-hold on the big-time college athletics landscape.
It was Toolanâ€™s good fortune that he signed up to document a season in which Bona wound up winning a share of the Atlantic 10 Conference regular-season title for the first time ever.
The book is published by NFB/Amelia Press and costs $19.95.Â Anyone with an interest in Bona would appreciate it.
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