Bellmore, NY- High school years can be a time to forge friendships and learn about how to be a team member. It can also be a time when the real world forces boys to become men. In Lee Krinsky's The Longest Fall (iUniverse), the sudden death of an inspiring teammate from a high school cross country team quickly shows the boys the harsher side of life.
The book is based in part on the author's very real high school experiences as a member of the W.C. Mepham cross country team with legendary coach Paul Limmer. Limmer coached at the Bellmore school for over 30 years and established an elite team with countless state champions and wins in prestigious meets. Tragically, like one of the main characters in The Longest Fall, one of the runners from the cross country team died in Krinsky's junior year of high school. As devastating as it was, the team banded together and won the county title in this member's honor, while years later Krinsky not only wrote about it in his coming of age story, but, along with another teammate, runs a scholarship fund in the runner's name.
Mixed with this rich history are beautiful descriptions of local parks, including Bethpage and Sunken Meadow, where the boys train. Although the story takes place on Long Island, it is universal in its message. Runners will see themselves as resilient and persistent while those who experienced a loss in their lives will find comfort to discover that they are not alone. The lesson is that it takes an entire team to pull together in order to come out a winner, especially when the goal line is crossing over into adulthood.