TUESDAY

Even in his glory days, Pat Conroy’s aim was a little off. “Don’t shoot, Conroy,” his college hoops coach would say. “Don’t shoot it.” When the second-string senior didn’t listen, the coach would yank him off the court, sternly stressing, “I told you not to shoot, Conroy.” After hanging up his high-tops, Conroy would fare better at writing, most famously for The Prince of Tides. In his latest book, My Losing Season, Conroy revisits his days as a loser, starting at age 10 but devoting the most prose to his final year at the Citadel, when his 1966-1967 Bulldogs basketball team lost 17 of 25 games. “When I turned in my uniform for the last time,” he writes, “I told myself I would never think of that pockmarked, quicksilver year.” Instead, more than three decades and two divorces later, he spends 400 pages dwelling primarily on that portion of his past. For a suicidal Conroy, writing the book was “an act of recovery,” allowing him to look at how that tumultuous season inspired each of his teammates to strive for successful lives off the court. “Losing prepares you for the heartbreak, setback, and tragedy that you will encounter in the world more than winning ever can,” Conroy opines. “By licking your wounds you learn how to avoid getting wounded the next time.” Bring it upcourt against the loser at Borders in Baileys Crossroads on Wednesday, Jan. 8, and in town at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7, at Olsson’s Books & Records, 1200 F St. NW. Free. (202) 347-3686. (Chris Shott)