Rounding Home, by Amy Goodwin


Pick of the Week-Austin Chronicle Jan. 25, 2002

And it’s a line drive to center stage as FronteraFest 2002’s Long Fringe presents Rounding Home, Amy Goodwin’s sports-centered drama of sibling rivalry, at the Blue Theater. Tues. Jan. 29th 9:30 p.m.

The Austin Chronicle


Amy Goodwin’s play about growing up in the shadow of an older sibling has familiar strains for all younger brothers and sisters, but adds a mystery and some comedic twists and turns that make Rounding Home an enjoyable presentation. Maggie Bell portrays younger sister Sally, desperate for some acknowledgment of her existence in a house — and town — that can’t see past her baseball hero big brother.

A budding sportscaster, but struggling with booze and the frustrations of living in the fish bowl of a small town, Bell’s Sally is a feisty, funny, and sad young woman. Bell is a charming standout in a charming cast that plays Goodwin’s naturalistic scenes with ease and honesty. Brent Mitchell, as elder brother Ty, struts with the requisite bravado and adds to that several layers to make the baseball hero a well-rounded character. Marc Menchaca, as Ty’s Yankee teammate and house guest John, effectively conveys an outsider’s bemusement and discomfort at being thrown into this dysfunctional family setting.

There are some incongruities in the script, especially when it comes to the issue of money, which ought not be an issue; the opening and close are still rough; and the mystery is hardly that. Still, Goodwin has provided some fine material for this able cast, and director Marco Perella (who adds a sturdy combination of prickly conservatism and buffoonishness to Father) has them well tuned to the world of the play.

by Robi Polgar / Austin Chronicle

Odds and Evens

Amy Goodwin’s “Rounding Home” very effectively captures this truly dysfunctional sports family…a truly weird bunch of people and events…brought to life by director Marco Perella and his cast…himself very able included…with a strong performance by Maggie Bell as the “problem” daughter…hopefully, Ms. Goodwin’s own experiences growing up in a sports family were not quite as strange as this…but keep her name in mind…and definitely catch whatever Amy does next…I know I will.

Laurence McGonigal / Odds & Evens

viking-updateTight end Hunter Goodwin isn’t the sole focus of a play written by his sister, but Amy Goodwin admits she drew on her family experiences to form the script.

Along with his mom and dad, Viking tight end Hunter Goodwin recently attended the theater to take in a play.

The play, “Rounding Home” focused on a family of four, and how that family handles the pressure of a son’s path to a professional baseball career, making big money and getting national recognition. The main character is the ball player’s sister, who is a sports broadcaster. How she reacts to her brother’s fame is one of the constant themes of the play.

Rather than looking up at the actors and actresses on stage, the Goodwins often felt as if they were glancing in the mirror. That wasn’t by coincidence, either, considering the script was written by Amy Goodwin, Hunter’s older sister.

“Some of the characters in the play kind of parallel parts of my childhood growing up in a small town with different challenges,” Hunter said. “She basically wrote a play that based on a lot of family issues we had faced. Some were funny and not that serious, others…

“She wrote about what a screwed-up life I had.”

Hunter is one of the Vikings’ locker room leaders in self-depreciating humor. He may have been the family’s most successful athlete, but so far as intelligence goes, we, he probably took a back seat.

“She’s a whole lot smarter than me,” Hunter says half-jokingly of Amy. “I try to help her when I can, but I’m not smart enough to comment on her behalf. She got the brains. I got the short end of the stick.”

Amy laughs at her brother’s response. “I don’t think he takes himself that seriously,” she said. “He does a good job of relating to people and he is funny. You hear him talk and you hear him say stuff he comes up with, and you wonder, “Where did that come from?”

Amy, 33, earned a masters degree in education at the University of Southern California, then earned another masters degree at Texas State, this time in counseling. It was the counseling degree, she said, that helped her analyze her inner-family’s relationships, thus forming a foundation of experiences for “Rounding Home.”

When you’re a teenager, you miss a lot of cues and you don’t see what’s going on,” she said. “Then you get older and start studying family dynamics and personalities and you can go back and make sense of things. I don’t think I could have written this without my training in psychology.”

Goodwin’s family history starts with dad, Bob, who played college football at the University of Texas. An injury was likely the only obstacle that prevented Bob from ever playing in the NFL When Hunter’s athletic career took off in high school, naturally pressure began to mount. He played college football at Texas A&M, then signed with the Vikings. Amy also was a high-profile athlete. She competed on the Southern California womens track team.

“In the story, the dad always wanted to play baseball but couldn’t, so he wanted his son to,” Amy said. “Hunter’s had to deal with my dad’s expectations since he was 5. I’m amazed at how he’s sustained that amount of pressure.”

“I think when you have a father whose dreams were cut short in sports, then puts all his hopes and dreams into the entire family, that’s a lot to carry. There was a lot of turmoil and conflict in our family getting from Point A to Point B.”

“I think from a sister’s perspective, she’s trying to find define her place in the family. I thought it was appropriate for the sister to be a sportscaster, because she could only come to the table if she talked sports. You can either communicate at that level or you don’t talk.”

Before the play ever hit the stage, Amy sent copies of the script to her mom, dad and Hunter.

Hunter_GoodwinMy dad was like, “Is this how you see me?” Amy recalled. “My brother said, “Am I really that insensitive?” I said, “Hunter, this is an exaggeration, it’s a dramatization. It’s not a complete autobiography.”

“Nobody raised a big stink about it, so I went ahead and put it on as a play.”

After seeing the play, the Goodwins offered rave reviews. “Hunter said he paid 80 dollars for “Rent” and he hated it. He said that my play was a lot better than, “Rent,” Amy said. “So that was a back-handed compliment.”

Her family members weren’t the only fans of the play.

After one of the performances, William Broyles, who wrote box-office hits “Castaway” and “Apollo 13,” told Amy he was impressed and encouraged her to write a screenplay for Rounding Home, with hopes of it becoming a film.

She hopes it will get purchased by a major movie company. “The big danger is they buy it and they hire their own writers to rewrite it,” she said. “Then it turns into a completely different story than what I wanted to portray.”

Troy Young /