“Sterling Bridge” is an historical fiction film novel. It is largely based on the story behind the namesake that is Sterling Elementary in Tooele, Utah. Both commemorate how Sterling Harris championed the bridging of two towns.
With a Mormon mother and Catholic father, Joe Lacey, Jr. especially finds himself in the middle of a struggle between Catholic immigrants and Mormon settlers of the early days of Tooele, Utah. He is not the only one who doesn’t know where he belongs amidst the conflict, but on the verge of facing the adversity of becoming a teenager he’s not sure he’s the right man for the job of overcoming it. To take on the greater travails of a broken community, on the verge of its own heightening adversity, yet unaware of the Great Depression soon to hit, they need a bold leader who is aware of everyone’s needs.
When Joe is up against stacked odds of being the first to attempt integrating with an all Mormon student body, he has a pivotal decision to make, but he is afraid and naturally only thinks of his own predicament. Survival dictates a flight or fight response. Will he gamble with his future, continue to dodge his parents, lie, beg, borrow and even steal his way out of their higher expectations? Or will he let someone show him a better way? To do so he will have to stand up to the challenge posed by another outsider, a new larger than life football coach, who is willing to put it all on the line to integrate not just Joe Lacey, Jr., but the whole community. Both must learn how to strive for high moral ground without leaving any friends behind.
Coach Sterling Harris, aka “The Bridge Builder,” knows building relationships will be of most importance. He also knows Joe is at the center of it all. This young man will need to be a key player, if Sterling is going to be able to use the opportunity of playing winning football for the pride of a town, to bring an even greater good—blessing a community with harmony by curing ignorance and bringing education to the masses.
“Is that Joe Lacey over there?” Across the tracks now open to all of the boy’s view stood the austere man with the car, his hands cupped to his mouth to yell. His broad shoulders and bold stance made him look larger than life.
I did an about face. The other boys finished tackling each other into a pile.
“You know that guy?” Mike stood next to me. “What does he want with you?”
Sterling beckoned with a big swinging motion of his arm. But when I made no motion toward him, he then approached us, confidently crossing the tracks.
“I’ll be back,” I scurried toward him.
“Hey Joe, you gonna introduce me to your friends?” Sterling walked right by me.
“You’re not going to tell my parents, are you?” I held my hands out.
“What’s to tell? I can still give you that ride to school.” Sterling looked at his car.
“My friends don’t know I’m switching schools.” I spoke so only he would hear.
Sterling pivoted. With his back to my friends he offered me a deal. “If you win you’ll never hear from me again, but if I win you have to at least let me take you to school.”
Now I felt calm and casually strode over to huddle up certain I would never lose our bet.
CHAD ROBERT PARKER lived in six states growing up, and is the second of six boys. Each served two-year missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is the son of two great, humble parents. They taught him a love for family, church, and life. Chad is an avid sports fan and likes creating games. He also likes juggling; he chose to juggle publishing his first book with getting married and starting a new venture hosting anecdoting.com: a site to share and collect good everyday life stories. Chad works in the library by day at BYU and dabbles in marketing and creative writing services at writcreate.com by night. He lives in beautiful Saratoga Springs, Utah, with his lovely wife. They are enjoying the life of newlyweds and feel like this is just how life was meant to be.
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