Two weeks ago we finished Amy Bass’s One Goal: A Coach, a Team, and the Game that Brought a Divided Town Together. Bass tells the story of the Somali refugees who moved to Lewiston, Maine and how the Lewiston High School soccer team, on which were many Somali students, won the state championship in 2015.
The book essentially tells two stories. For those of us with Franco-American ancestry, Bass’s material on the parallels between the arrivals of the French Canadians in the nineteenth century and that of the Somalis in more recent decades is quite illuminating. As the author writes, “It is an old story; there are just new people living it.” (p. 47)
The second story is a more sports-oriented narrative about the championship season, and how the students on the team, the Blue Devils, became united enough to win the big game. Some of the more interesting material here concerns the different style of overall play that the Somali students brought to the game in Lewiston.
The author, a graduate of Bates College, has a fair amount of local history including an echo of the famous Lewiston boxing match in 1965 when Muhammad Ali defeated Sonny Liston. Ali at the height of the tensions between the Somalis and some native Lewistonians in 2003 stated that “fighting racism… was a ‘greater contest’ than the one he’d fought against Liston.” (p. 67)