When the Game Stands Tall: The Story of the De La Salle Spartans and Football's Longest Winning Streak (Paperback)
Revised and updated edition of the book available in August 2014 to accompany the major motion picture directed by Thomas Carter and starring Jim Caviezel, Alexander Ludwig, Laura Dern, and Clancy Brown.
By 2002, The Streak—a historic 13-year run of consecutive wins by the Spartans, a high-school football team from Concord, California, that couldn't be beat—was still going strong. In this revised edition of When the Game Stands Tall, author Neil Hayes, who had unrestricted access to the De La Salle team, writes from the inside about the games, the players, and their visionary coach, Bob Ladouceur, who managed to amass the highest winning percentage in football history (.995) through standing for something greater than winning. The book, which also features interviews with major sports figures like Bill Walsh and John Gruden, is a revealing portrait of the coach who believed above all in instilling basic life skills where winning is not the goal, but merely the byproduct of playing the game.
The Streak had become a national story long before it ended in September 2004. In this revised paperback, Neil Hayes catches up on the lives of the main characters and takes readers through the final tumultuous year. What results is a timeless and inspirational story of struggle, tragedy, and triumph.
About the Author
Neil Hayes was a sportswriter at the "Contra Costa Times" in Walnut Creek, California, and the "Chicago Sun-Times" during a 26-year newspaper career. He wrote the script for the ESPN documentary "151: The Greatest Streak, " which was inspired by this book. He was also part of the creative team and an on-set consultant during the filming of the major motion picture based on this book. Hayes lives in the Chicago area with his wife, Charlee, their two children, Nick and Riley, and a pair of unruly dogs. Bob Larson, the award-winning photographer, has been allowed behind the scenes access to De La Salle's program for more than ten years. He documented the team's national record setting 73rd consecutive victory as well as the school's 100th straight win. Larson also created a photo documentary of the 2002 season. His black and white photos evoke both the public spectacle and personal faces of De La Salle's intriguing 'Streak.' John Madden, the legendary NFL broadcaster synonymous with football for millions of fans nationwide, has an ability to explain the game's finer points with an idiosyncratic sense of humor. After 21 seasons as a game analyst for CBS and Fox, he is in his third season as the expert analyst for "Monday Night Football." Tony La Russa, the St. Louis Cardinals manager, is a former Bay Area resident who zealously follows De La Salle and considers Bob Ladouceur a true authority and coaching guru, as well as a personal friend. He has used Ladouceur quotes to inspire and motivate his own St. Louis Cardinals players.
“Exceptional. A story about brotherhood and the endless fight to achieve greatness in all aspects of life.”—Alexander Ludwig
“A road map for developing great teams and great young men. A must read for any coach or parent who wants to help kids reach their true potential.”—David Zelon, producer
“One of the greatest football stories ever told.”—John Madden
“A story we need to read.”—Tony La Russa
“Human vulnerability gets equal time with athletic invincibility throughout Hayes’s book.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Remarkable.”—Pro Football Weekly