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A Few Seconds of Panic: A 5-Foot-8, 170-Pound, 43-Year-Old Sportswriter Plays in the NFL Hardcover – Bargain Price, July 3, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
Stefan Fatsis suceeds in infiltrating the most sacred of grounds: the NFL locker room and the strange world that surrounds it. We get a glimpse of what it is like to know that your very job hinges on the next play in training camp. Players come and go like the tides. Coaches rule like tyrrants and the pecking order among them becomes painfully evident. So does the stress created in this bubbling cauldron they call professional football.
Reading about the personalities of the players--from the lowly undrafted rookie free agent to the highest paid super-star--reminds us that these people are only human. In fact, Fastis' colorful writing creates a word picture that surely is the way these players really are. Some are real characters, some are sad reminders of how cruel life can be. I found myself identifying with one partiular play and this gave me great insight into my own place in life.
It must be terribly frustrating to be a professional football player, where the glamor of game day gives way to utter despair when the "turk" comes to visit.
The only downside I see with this book is that it is so captivating that I let my usual workload pile up while I sat glue to the book. Oh, well.
Stefan Fatsis provides a ticket to a game seldom of us see--the game withing the game. Though he stands only 5 feet 8 inches, this work is gigantic. May all of his kicks in life sail thorugh the uprights.
While the plot involves Fatsis improving his kicking to the point of non-embarrassment as part of the Denver Broncos, the deeper stories revolve around issues of belonging and achieving, of men proving themselves to themselves, and of the sacrifices we are willing to make to have done something extraordinary.
While Fatsis endures initiation and a brutal training regimen, humiliating public failures and private doubts, the book isn't really about him. Rather, we see through his sharp and empathetic eyes the arc of young lives enriched and betrayed by a business that masquerades as a game.
I'm reading the book AS Fatsis - imagining myself in his (size 6 1/2) shoes, taking a ribbing from my teammates, being ordered to sing my college fight song in the locker room, facing intense performance anxiety, and worst of all - getting into a jacuzzi filled with 47 degree water for 15 minutes.
That's only fitting, since the central theme of the book is how we men measure ourselves, against other men, against great tasks, against pain, and against fate itself.
What are my Few Seconds of Panic?
My takeaway, several weeks after finishing the book, is a series of questions:
What glorious, outrageous claim to greatness have I not dared to dream?
What self-imposed rules have kept me on the sidelines?
What fears of ridicule by the "in-crowd," in whatever setting, have limned my ambition?
So thank you, Stefan, for bolding going into the breach and paving the way for this reader, at least, to look for my own Few Seconds of Panic.
Here's the problem. Fastis is not a real kicker. He is not any type of football player with any semblance of understanding of what motivates footall players. But he is a good writer. And in so being latches onto certain storylines and presents them well. Nonetheless it is clear that he is ultimately taking shots in the dark. I credit him for hitting the mark more times than I expected him to, but he predictably misses it completely many times as well. Many of these times center around his absurd and denialist belief that he is actually a football player deserving of the opportunity to kick in a game. And at perhaps the books worst moment, he tirades the NFL for having the nerve to put it into clear terms just exactly how much of an outsider he is, comparing his kicking in a game to a rich prick bidding for the same chance. But this of course is exactly what Fastis is.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Truly outstanding. I was familiar with Stefan Fatsis from his appearances on NPR, and the same insight and wit heard in his radio reports are found in the pages of his book.Published 10 months ago by H. Brown
This book will give you a new respect for players in the NFL. I have been watching the NFL my whole life. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Logan May
Thanks 4the effort, to the author, the players, coaches, and family members who made the book so much fun for me. I'll always be an appreciative and avid FAN!Published on March 3, 2014 by Kindle Customer
George Plimpton, meet Stefan Fatsis.
Plimpton, you might recall, wrote a book in the early 1960's called "Paper Lion" on his experiences when he participated in... Read more
I am a big fan of the Slate - hang up and listen podcast; I avoided reading the book because I thought Stefan Fatsis sounded a little full of himself. Read morePublished on January 29, 2014 by Skye A. Wills
I really enjoyed it from start to finish, as good as Paper Lion! Great journalistic technique, and totally enjoyable in a respects!Published on January 20, 2014 by Rick
Fatsis is charming in his self awareness. This book told me things I didn't know - a lot them actually -- including that rooting for underdogs is in my DNA.Published on January 5, 2014 by Charles Post