City Journal: Senior Year

Meet Dan Shaughnessy, an average dad proud of his baseball-playing son, Sam.


Meet Dan Shaughnessy, an average dad proud of his baseball-playing son, Sam. At least, that’s how the Globe columnist presents himself in this memoir, which follows Sam’s senior year at Newton North High School. Sometimes schlocky, the book weaves in scenes from Shaughnessy’s own childhood and is guided by a familiar purist, sports-make-a-man philosophy. (At one point the author describes ESPN’s SportsCenter as the place “where our precious games sadly morphed into moronic entertainment.”) But it’s in the smaller moments that Senior Year is most triumphant, offering insight into how a sportswriter, trained to see greatness in games, can lose his sense of scale when watching kids—particularly his kid—compete: After Sam homers and swaggers around the bases, Shaughnessy gets slugger Mark Mc-Gwire to explain the respectful way to round ’em. Now that’s a sports dad.