An Inspiring story of resilience. Not just for sports fans. — Mike Jones, who made “The Tackle”

Joe Castellano did a wonderful job writing about teamwork, faith, self-discipline, leadership, life experiences, and lessons learned; how one is influenced by family, friends, teachers, coaches, experiences, national and world affairs; the issues of race, sexual orientation, the Vietnam war during that era; and the life-long impact one high school football season can have on the players. Francis Slay, longest-serving Mayor in the history of St. Louis (2001-17)

At any level of sports, the most interesting teams take us on a ride through joy, sadness, tension, hilarity, unpredictability, disappointment, triumph and unexpected adventure. “Bull In The Ring” is a true story about a high school football team that did all of those things. For sports fans of a certain age, author Joe Castellano brings back memories of a turbulent time in America where kids were challenged to grow up faster than they might have wished on athletic fields and in real life.  For social observers of any age, Castellano dives deeper than you’d expect into that murky and debatable area of how much games should truly matter in the bigger scheme of life. Also, there are anecdotes about a priest who shouted out football strategy in his sleep, a soccer team expatriate placekicker, a quarterback who liked to ignore the play calls of his crusty coach, and pep rallies led by a future advertising executive in an ant costume. Who wouldn’t want to read a book about that? Mark Purdy, sports columnist, San Jose Mercury News and Bay Area News Group

The book captures so much of the tension of the time — the Vietnam War, the fight for civil rights, long hair, the generational turmoil.  Yet one thing was clear — we were lucky enough to be embraced by leaders who helped us grow up and allowed us to be part of something very special. Dan Flynn, CEO U.S. Soccer Federation, SLUH Class of 1973