SUMMIT, NJ - Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jonathan Schuppe will discuss his book, A Chance to Win: Boys, Baseball, and the Struggle for Redemption in the Inner City, May 4 at The Unitarian Church. The event, which begins at 7:30 p.m., is free and the public is welcome.
Schuppe traces the career of Rodney Mason, an ex-con drug dealer from the tough streets of Newark, who rehabilitated himself through organizing and coaching a Little League team, the Elizabeth Avenue Eagles, in his native South Ward.
The Mayor’s Forum on Diversity in Summit and the Greater Newark Conservancy are cosponsoring the book talk. Several Newark teens will be on hand to discuss their experience with the Conservancy’s Newark Youth Leadership Program.
Schuppe, currently a writer for NBC News, met Rodney Mason in 2008 while covering politics, government, and inner-city crime for the Star-Ledger. At the time, he was researching a story about the physical and emotional toll of living in one of America’s most violent cities.
Mason was a former high school pitching ace, and corner-level drug dealer, who lost the use of his legs in a drive-by shooting. He spent years depressed, but finally turned his life around through sharing his knowledge and love of baseball to help boys avoid the street life that had claimed his youth and mobility.
"Jon Schuppe has written an extraordinary book of the human spirit," wrote Ron Suskind, author of A Hope in the Unseen. "A man with no legs teaches the forgotten children of Newark how to run for glory. Amazing, and all true."
Chance to Win received the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award, given by the Columbia Journalism School and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. The book is nominated for a 2015 PEN Literary Award for nonfiction.
Schuppe was part of a team of reporters awarded the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for breaking-news coverage of New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey’s resignation.
Chance to Win, published in May, 2014, by macmillan Publishers, is available in hardcover, paperback, and e-reader formats.
For further information, call the Church at 908 / 273-3245, or visit ucsummit.org. The Unitarian Church is located at 4 Waldron Avenue.