Beartown

Beartown Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Lars, the coach of the boys’ team, doesn’t have a leadership style—he just yells. Amat fears that Lars will replace David as coach of the youth team next year, and that he’ll never be free of the man. A year ago, after the juniors snuck into the locker room and threw Amat’s clothes into the shower, he almost gave up hockey altogether. But Fatima told him, “You might be playing with bears. But that doesn’t mean you have to forget that you’re a lion.” Later that morning, Amat returned to the ice. He realized that he had to start thinking of hockey in his own way if he wanted to be better than the other players.
Fatima teaches Amat to think of his difference not as a failing, but as a source of strength. Perhaps he can’t measure up to the “bear” culture, but he can surpass them in a completely different way. This shows Fatima’s strength as a parent as well as a major reason that Amat will stand out among his hockey peers; he’s always known he can’t fit in, and though that’s difficult, it also frees him to do what he thinks is right instead of conforming to others’ standards.
Themes
Community Breakdown and Inequality Theme Icon
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Resistance and Courage Theme Icon
David believes that Sune’s view of hockey shows why Beartown has collapsed economically, too. Sune believes that hard work is sufficient, and that no single player should outshine the others too much. David believes that someone needs to stand out—“collectives only work if they’re built around stars.” Hockey is constantly changing, and it has to evolve with the times.
While David readily sees the trade-offs involved in Sune’s approach to hockey, he’s less perceptive regarding the problems with his own. He doesn’t consider the costs of elevating certain “stars” and assigning the rest of his players to a supportive, like-minded “collective.”
Themes
Community Breakdown and Inequality Theme Icon
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Whenever David comes home from an argument with Sune, his girlfriend teases him, “fallen out with daddy again?” It’s true that Sune taught David how to be a coach. Sune had hoped that his two proteges, David and Peter, would complement one another, but instead they hate each other. David has always been jealous of Sune’s relationship with Peter and has feared exclusion. So he rebelled against his teacher, eventually coming to realize that the players are more important than loyalty to Sune.
David’s approach to coaching seems, to a certain extent, to be rooted in his fear of exclusion. If he fears that Sune will never fully accept him—never bestow fatherly approval on him the way he does to Peter—then David will create his own community where he’s the sought-after father figure.
Themes
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Zacharias has performed the worst in the boys’ team practice, so Lars makes him collect the pucks and cones. Amat helps him. After they’ve joked around a while, Amat nonchalantly asks if Zacharias wants to do something together that weekend. Zacharias wants to play video games, but soon realizes that Amat hopes to go out and run into Maya. He starts teasing Amat about his crush.
Amat and Zach have always had a tight bond; unbeknownst to them, it’s about to unravel, thanks partly to Amat’s preoccupation with Maya, as well as his superior hockey skill.
Themes
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
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David argues with Lars outside the locker room. After Lars leaves, Amat and Zach approach, and Amat is surprised when David speaks to him. David offers Amat some shooting advice—he’s fast, but needs some work in other areas. Then he tells Amat to get a jersey, because he’s training with the juniors in 15 minutes. Zacharias hugs him fiercely after David walks away. In the locker room, Amat is met by a chorus of swearing, but David silences them without a word. Lars tosses Amat a stinking jersey, while Zacharias is left standing in the hallway.
Straight from a scene in which Amat and Zach’s friendship appears to be unbreakable, Amat walks into a situation that offers him greater belonging than Zach will ever find. He’s quickly mocked by the junior players, but even so, he has access to another world while Zach is literally left standing beyond its boundaries. This shows once again just how much hockey overshadows relationships in Beartown and makes or breaks people’s fortunes.
Themes
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon