Richie Contartesi * Defy the Odds Publishing * September 26, 2015 * 134 Pages
In Spite of the Odds is a surprisingly well-written memoir written by a man who pushed himself hard to become a scholarship athlete at the University of Mississippi. Richie Contartesi doesn’t look like a typical football player, and throughout his sports career, he was told repeatedly that he was too small and too slow to play. Much like Rudy Ruettiger, though, Contartesi never quit on his dream. In the face of obstacles, he simply pushed himself more and worked twice as hard. As a result, he was eventually able to accomplish his goal of playing on a D1 team.
I liked Contartesi’s story, overall. He shows a lot of heart, and I respect anyone who is willing to persevere even when things get tough. I certainly admire his spirit. I was also very impressed with his writing skills, and I thought the book had a nice rhythm and flow to it.
My only complaint is that the book could be a bit too “play-by-play” for me at parts (no pun intended). I didn’t need to know so many specific details about each game. To me, that extra detail became tedious. However, I also felt that way when I read Rudy: My Story, so I can acknowledge that younger and more enthusiastic football fans may not agree with me.
Ultimately, this was a satisfying and heartfelt read. I enjoyed learning Contartesi’s story, and I’d recommend In Spite of the Odds to anyone who liked the book written by or the movie based on Rudy Ruettiger.