Running Loose deals with serious problems—parent/child relationships, dating, sex, racism and death—with a light-hearted tone. The novel also explores whether athletics in high school is taken too seriously.
Louie Banks starts his senior year with high hopes of having a successful football season, graduating, and getting into college. The year begins well.
He is in excellent physical shape due to hard work, and the football team is off to another winning record. (Sports fans will enjoy the many references to football tactics and plays.) A smart, pretty cheerleader decides she likes him, so he has a terrific personal relationship going. But trouble begins when the coach insinuates that the black quarterback for their toughest opponent should be put "out of the game! Early!"
When the deed is actually done, Louie's ideals of sportsmanship won't allow him to play any more, and he embarrasses...