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MONSTERS OF THE MIDWAY Love and Redemption in College Football [Kindle Edition]

Jeff Rasley
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

From 1892 until the 1930s the legendary Monsters of the Midway dominated college football. However, in 1939 the University of Chicago dropped out of the Big Ten and killed off its varsity football program.

But now, it's 1969 and football is back. The resurrection of Chicago football hasn't brought the Monsters fully back to life. The team plays more like the lab mice of the Midway. The new Maroons are called "the worst team in college ball" by People Magazine. Players refuse to attend mandatory practices and flout NCAA rules. They lose game after game. Yet, guys who have IQ scores greater than their weight eventually commit to the goal to win one game for their old coach, Wally Hass. Coach Hass is the rare coach that truly believes student-athletes should be scholars first and athletes for fun. Wally just wants his players to experience wining one game before he retires.

Sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll, the Draft Lottery, the Anti-War Movement, and student rebellion on college campuses in 1969 -- the University of Chicago is swimming against the cultural tide by resurrecting its football program. Jack Blair is a small town Hoosier kid who just wanted to go to the best college in the Midwest. In Chicago Jack encounters characters as disparate as Muhammad Ali, Milton Friedman, and George Halas. And, he falls in love.

Alice hates football, but she is attracted to Jack. She wears a beret. He wears a helmet. She is a radical feminist from Chicago. He is a Hoosier farm boy.

Jack comes of age in a bewildering cultural milieu of frats, jocks, hippies, and Marxist radicals. But his greatest challenge is whether he can learn to love and make an authentic commitment to his team, his girl friend, or anyone. His coach, his philosophy professor, and Alice offer to show him the way.

The book is inspired by the author's experience of playing on the resurrected University of Chicago Maroons a/k/a the Monsters of the Midway. Jeff Rasley is also the author of six other books, Pilgrimage: Sturgis to Wounded Knee and Back Home, a Memoir; Bringing Progress to Paradise; Light in the Mountains; False Prophet, a Legal Thriller; Islands in my Dreams; and India - Nepal Himalayas in the Moment.

Editorial Reviews


"After a 30-year hiatus, varsity football returned to the University of Chicago in the 1970s-sort of. One player recalls his ragtag Restoration Era team, from the six-foot-three gentle giant to the 135-pound nose tackle." - Chicago

A small town Hoosier boy enrolls in the University of Chicago in 1968.  Amidst student demonstrations against the Viet Nam War and the military-industrial complex the University of Chicago resurrects its football program, which has been dead for 30 years.  Demonstrators occupy the Administration Building and the football field.  So, Jack Blair decides to join the team.  His radical-feminist girl friend is not pleased.

From the Author

It's about boy meets girl in college.  It's about hard-hitting football action.  It's about
- an Indiana farm family
- a country boy trying to find his way in the big city
- the student rebellion against traditions and cultural upheaval of the 60s & 70s
- frats & jocks and it's Animal House in the locker room and on the team bus.

It's about intellectuals at the University of Chicago where the first controlled nuclear reaction took place under the football stadium bleachers.
It's a buddy book.
It's about an old coach who loves his players and just wants to win one more game.
It's about a boy becoming a man.

It's inspired by the author's experience of playing on what People Magazine called "the worst team in college ball."

A Pinterest photo album related to Monsters may be found on Jeff Rasley's Pinterest boards at
Copy, paste and enjoy the photos.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2016 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Midsummer Books (April 10, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007TAF1JY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #744,685 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm A Witness July 8, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I was one of Jeff's teammates on the Maroons in the 70's and I witnessed many of the events that form the basis for the plot. While the names have been changed to protect the (not so) innocent, Jeff has brilliantly captured the mood of our time together and produced a captivating and entertaining narrative. I know that I will reread this book when I want to recapture a favorite period of my youth. I just wish I had thought of it- or that Jeff would have consulted me on the development of one of the minor characters.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than football April 24, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Jeff has weaved philosophy, religion, Indiana values, and even the drug culture of the period into a wonderful story about football and the history of the University of Chicago into a book you cannot lay down. In reading the quick review of the book, you would think it is about football and the University of Chicago, but it is so much more. The book covers the issues that all young men face while growing up, including friendship, family, religion, and how important the power of setting goals is. By taking the game of football, he tells a story of how young men can learn about life, while turning around a 30 year culture of one of the most highly recommended schools in our county. Even for those who don't enjoy football, this book gives insight of why so many do, and how it changes those who play the game.

L. H. Wolfla - Greenfield, IN
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended for Sports Fans and Other Intellectuals December 5, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Following in the tradition of In Cold Blood (but without the murders), Mr. Rasley has written a sweeping historical non-fiction novel that explores the relationship between academics and sports through the lens of the Chicago Maroons football team. Starting with the Big Ten in the 1890s, when the team was known as the "Monsters of the Midway," and progressing through the early 1970s, Mr. Rasley seamlessly weaves fascinating historical background information with a personal narrative of the team attempting a comeback after thirty years of dormancy. This book should be of interest to sports fans of all types, especially college football fans who don't know the whole story behind the University of Chicago's decision to drop their football program after such a stellar start, and those concerned by the undue influence of college football on academic institutions.
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More About the Author

Jeff Rasley is the author of seven books and has published numerous articles in academic and mainstream periodicals, including Newsweek, Chicago Magazine, ABA Journal, Family Law Review, American Athenaeum, Pacific Magazine, Indy's Child, The Journal of Communal Societies, The Chrysalis Reader, Faith & Fitness Magazine, Friends Journal, and Real Travel Adventures International Magazine. He is an award-winning photographer and his pictures taken in the Himalayas and Caribbean and Pacific islands have been published in several journals. He has appeared as an expert guest on over forty radio programs.

Rasley has engaged in social activism and philanthropic efforts from an early age. In high school he co-founded the Goshen Walk for Hunger. In law school he was an advocate for renters' rights as the leader of the first rent strike in Indiana, and he served as a lobbyist and president of the Indianapolis Tenants Association. As an attorney for Legal Services organization he was lead counsel on two class action suits on behalf of prisoners which resulted in judgments requiring the construction of two new jails in Central Indiana. Jeff was the lead plaintiff in a class action requiring the clean-up of the White River after it was polluted by an industrial chemical spill. Jeff is the founder and president of the Basa Village Foundation USA, which raises money for culturally sensitive development work in the Basa area of Nepal. He currently serves as an officer or director for five nonprofit corporations.

Jeff recently ended his practice of law as senior partner of Rasley & Wood, P.A. He is a partner in the e-book publishing enterprise Midsummer Books and provides writer coaching services. He is U.S. liaison for the Nepal-based Himalayan expedition company, Adventure GeoTreks Ltd. He has taught classes for IUPUI Continuing Ed. Program, Indiana Writers Center, and Marian University. He currently teaches philosophy of philanthropy at Butler University.

Jeff is a graduate of the University of Chicago, A.B. magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, All-Academic All-State Football Team and letter winner in swimming and football; Indiana University School of Law, J.D. cum laude, Moot Court and Indiana Law Review; Christian Theological Seminary, M.Div. magna cum laude, co-valedictorian and Faculty Award Scholar. He has been admitted to the Indiana, U.S. District Court, and U.S. Supreme Court Bars.

For chairing the Indiana-Tennessee Civic Memorial Commission Rasley and the Commission received Proclamations of Salutation from the Governors of Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Pennsylvania and he was made an honorary Lieutenant Colonel Aide-de-Camp of the Alabama State Militia, a Kentucky Colonel and honorary Citizen of Tennessee. He was given a Key to the City of Indianapolis for serving as an intern to Mayor Hudnut and preparing a report on the safety conditions of all Indy Parks. Rasley has received the Man of the Year award from the Arthur Jordan YMCA and the Alumni Service Award from the University of Chicago Alumni Board of Governors.

Jeff is an avid outdoorsman and recreational athlete. He leads trekking-mountaineering expeditions in Nepal and has solo-kayaked around several Pacific island groups. He also loves to read and considers completing Marcel Proust's 3600 page Remembrance of Things Past as great an adventure as climbing Himalayan peaks and solo-kayaking Pacific islands.

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