As a former and long-time basketball coach, I bring a bias to books about youth sports. I favor
values-based content, explorations into how athletics prepare young athletes to become
contributing citizens, coveted work colleagues, cherished life partners, and, fundamentally, kind
human beings. From that perspective, Create Forever Teammates, How Connections and
Relationships are Winning Steps in Life and Sports, by Patrick Touhey, gets high marks.
Well-written and well-organized, the book’s cornerstone is that Mr. Touhy gets it. The author
draws on a wealth of personal and professional experience, as he heartwarmingly assumes the
teaching mantle of his mentor and late brother Kevin. Mr. Touhy instructs ably about the internal
forces that drive athletics, the good and the bad, the inspirational and the regressive, and the joy
and the frustration. He knows why athletes stumble, how coaches fail, and what both can do to
overcome setback, rise to the occasion, and over time become the best persons they can be.
Mr. Touhy isn’t content to talk the talk. He is transparent and self-critical, owning and learning
from his own mistakes, and putting his lessons, ideas, and principles into practical application for
the reader. The book contains various exercises and problem-solving suggestions that implement
the book’s ambitious mission. Reviewing his recommendations, readers will be compelled to
apply them to their lives and experiences, no matter what their athletic frame of reference. Mr.
Touhy espouses human values common to us all.
The one shortcoming is the chapter on parents. There Mr. Touhy analyzes how parents interfere
with the athletic experience of their children. While he offers explanations for the behavior, he
treats the subject with kid gloves, almost apologetic about parental misdeeds. As a result, in the
admirable quest to be politic and positive, he misses an opportunity to call it like it is, that the
most insidious and ingrained problem is parents kidnapping the athletic experience from their
children by living vicariously through them and dishonoring the clear boundaries that separate
parental roles in athletic programs from those of coaches and other athletic personnel.
That minor blip aside, Create Forever Teammates is a refreshing blend of heart, intelligence, and
passion, trumpeting core values, none more essential than the enduring impact of human
connection. It is, more than anything, a community building work, a blueprint for how to build a
culture, how we should see and conduct ourselves in relation to each other and how, working in
concert, we can build better lives for us all. Anyone in a position of responsibility in athletics
would be well-served to read this book, to become a better mentor, enhance their contributions to
sports programs, and, not the least, grow personally. More than earning a spot on a bookshelf,
Create Forever Teammates warrants an accessible place for easy frequent reference. Brother
Kevin would be proud.