Thursday, April 16, 2015

Book Review: Finished It, A Team's Journey to Winning it All

Cassie Reilly-Boccia was the starting first baseman on the 2012 championship-winning Alabama Crimson Tide squad. Not only was that the Tide's first softball championship in school history, it also happened to be the first-ever softball national title for the Southeastern Conference.

Reilly-Boccia has now taken her memories, stories, and more from that championship-winning season and put them into a book entitled Finished It: A Team's Journey to Winning it All.

The book reads more like a journal than an autobiography or novel, and that works in favor of it's readability. You could just as easily hear the very same words narrated over film of the games and incidents described.

With ringing endorsements from legends like Sue Enquist, Jessica Mendoza, and Amanda Scarborough adorning the back cover and a forward from Reilly-Boccia's fellow 2012 senior Kayla Braud, the star power recommending the book left high expectations and many of them were met, and some even exceeded, as I read.

Early on in the first couple of chapters, Reilly-Boccia gives a behind-the-scenes look at former coach Patrick Murphy's 2011 move to LSU and return to Bama that all took place in a single week's time. Murphy's move to Baton Rouge shocked the softball world; his return to Tuscaloosa less than a week later surprised even more. Reilly-Boccia gives a player's insight into both, including how she and Braud approached incoming Tide freshmen with the news.

At the end of each chapter, Reilly-Boccia gives her vivid recollection of June 6, 2012, the day that culminated with the Tide dogpiling at the pitcher's circle in Hall of Fame Stadium. From hours before the game to the famous and infamous rain delay to mid-game memories, these features are the most enjoyable parts of the book.

In a market that contains few published books under the 'softball' category and even fewer that are not instructional manuals or full of drills, Reilly-Boccia's manuscript is a welcome addition. It's an enjoyable read and well-worth purchasing for yourself. On a traditional grading scale of 1-5 stars,  I give Finished It four stars.

You can purchase the book for yourself by clicking here or here; if you're in or near the Tuscaloosa area, you can get your copy signed on April 23 prior to the Tide' game against Tennessee at Rhoads Stadium.

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