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Bemidji Reads! A community literary experience

Author Amy Bass discusses her book One Goal: A Coach, A Team, and the Game the Brought a Divided Town Together

It's one of the largest demographic changes a community of this size has ever gone through. You're talking about a city of about 36,000 folks with about 10,000 African refugees coming in in a very short period of time. And we have to appreciate and understand the change… the data is irrefutable that refugees and immigration benefit the communities that are lucky enough to have them. That's the reality of it. That's the reality of refugee resettlement. It's the reality of immigration. It's the reality of Lewiston. Lewiston is growing. Lewiston, after years of stagnation and hemorrhaging population is building new schools, Lewiston has new athletic fields, Lewiston has new businesses. And the state of Maine, at large, does not. And in Lewiston, there are families who are choosing to be there and go to school there, work there, raise their families there.

...If you are a sports fan, then read the book and love the soccer that's played because it's amazing, and then see what else you might want to glean from that. And if you're not a soccer fan, then come meet the people, because these are people that we don't often write about - whether it's an athletic director who's one of the star characters of the book... or the teacher who has the classroom next door to the soccer organizers, the head of the food pantry. These are people that we should get to know. And these are people that probably we all know someone like...If nothing else, learn how hard it is to be the goalie's mother and a woman who runs the snack concession because she can't even stand to watch the game. - Amy Bass

One Goal: A Coach, A Team, and a Game That Brought a Divided Town Together by author and Amy Bass chronicles the growing pains and blossoming of Lewiston, Maine, a community in the flux of a culture change. The novel is this year’s Bemidji Reads! choice for a community literary experience that aims to expand perspectives and cultivate community. Organized by Headwaters Music and Arts, 100 books have already been given away at the Bemidji Public Library and interest continues to grow.

Bass will lead a discussion of sports writing and writing in general June 17th at 10am at Headwaters School of Music and Arts in Bemidji. Later that day at 7pm, the community is welcome to the Bemidji Community Theater Performance Complex for a reading and presentation on the important intersections between sports and community.

Bass spoke with Northern Community Radio about many things, including how she came to write the book, how she hopes the book impacts a community like Bemidji, and how sport is the perfect lens thru which to gain perspective on complicated topics.

Sports was the way, going back to graduate school, that I was able to talk about the things that I wanted to talk about: identity and nation and citizenship and who has what. There's pretty much nothing that you can't talk about through the window of sport. So as a teacher, as a professor, I can get students really passionate about really important issues through the lens of sport. We talk about immigration and labor and capitalism and all kinds of gigantic, heavy things... if I just said, ‘hey, kids, today we're going to talk about labor, they might be like, oh, okay. But if I said, hey, we're going to talk about the collective bargaining agreement that the US Soccer Federation just cut,’ it gets interesting. So sport has always been that for me, and One Goal is no exception. - Amy Bass

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Katie Carter started at Northern Community Radio in 2008 as Managing Editor of the station's grant-funded, online news experiment Northern Community Internet. She returned for a second stint in 2016-23. She produced Area Voices showcasing the arts, culture, and history stories of northern Minnesota.