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Friday, February 3, 2012

Football Reads

You all have no choice but to indulge me today since I am a bit preoccupied.  You see, I am a NY Giants fan and the past few weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions.

Knowing it would be tough to concentrate on much else, I have rearranged my work schedule so that I am off work from now until Monday morning.

I have to say, living in Chicago, it is fun to be the only Giants fan that my friends know.  (Although I have made a few calls back to NJ this week.)  Everyone is so excited for me.  I appreciate the support.  But right now, I need to distract myself to get through the next couple of days.  I have a feeling I will have the cleanest house on the block come kick-off time Sunday night.

Today I have a few football related reads to help you to enjoy the big game.  Now, I know that the list of football reads is nowhere near as long as that for baseball books.  In fact, although I enjoy football slightly more than baseball, overall, I much prefer baseball framed fiction and nonfiction.  That is not to say that there aren't great football books though.

I should begin with my fantasy football team, which is named, The Paper Lions after the book by the same name by the late, great George Plimpton.  From the Amazon review:
Through the course of a long and distinguished career in letters, George Plimpton has crafted an art form from participatory journalism, and Paper Lion is his big touchdown. In the mid-'60s, Plimpton joined the Detroit Lions at their preseason camp as a 36-year-old rookie quarterback wannabe, and stuck with the club through an intra-squad game before the paying public a month later. What resulted is one of the funniest and most insightful books ever written on the game; 30 years later it remains a major model of what was then blossoming into New Journalism. Plimpton's breezy style wonderfully captures the pressures and tensions rookies confront in trying to make it, the hijinks that pervade the atmosphere when 60 high-strung guys are forced to live together in close quarters, and the host of rites and rituals with which football loves to coat itself. Of course, Plimpton didn't make it as a football hero; he barely accounts himself with dignity on the field, which is just as well. You don't have to be a lion when you've got a typewriter that can roar.
This really is a classic piece of sports writing, period.  If it is just great sportswriting you are looking for, I would also suggest The Best American Sport Writing of the Century edited by another late, great, David Halberstam.

In the spirit of Plimpton, journalist Stefan Fatsis tried out to be a kicker for the Denver Broncos a handful of years ago.  The resulting book, A Few Seconds of Panic was quite enjoyable.  Click here and scroll down to read my review from August, 2008.

A few other football themed reads I would recommend are:

I'll be back on Monday, win lose or draw. Go Big Blue!

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