I absolutely loved this audio version as Mr. Hickey has a most entertaining voice. This is not a boring blah blah reading, his voice is full of character and wonderful inflections. It was a real joy to listen to! A good reading voice really brings the characters to life and makes it a much more exciting adventure.
I happened to see a live performance that Mr. Hickey did a few months ago from his latest book, Morehead. ( which is also very good!) After the reading he was signing books and I
saw The Coaches Son so I bought and read it. But his live performance had been so good so I also bought the audio for the simple fact that he is so much fun to listen to!
The story is well written and honest, about a young boy whose Dad is a professional football coach. The boy, Mark, has a unique and special ability to predict the outcome of games.
It is a warm, and often humorous, tale of a boy's coming of age and the relationships between himself, his family members, and the world. Mark seems to find himself in some interesting situations at every turn, especially when it comes to girls and puberty.
It's an entertaining listen that will keep you involved and laughing, I highly recommend this one!
I'd had this in my wish list for a while, and honestly dove into it only because it seemed to be of modest length, and it's currently football season. I remember hearing the book review on NPR a long time ago when the book was released and thinking, "Oh, he's just cribbing from Plimpton!" I was pleasantly surprised and engaged at Fatsis' narrative of his quixotic attempt to mold himself into something approaching an NFL kicker. Fatsis sucks you in with his candid, eye-opening picture of an NFL locker room and its players. After a short time, by suffering alongside the players with two-a-days, rigid dawn to dusk schedules, and the constant physical demands, Fatsis managed to blend in with all the other eager rookies and hired hands trying to win a spot on the roster in camp. Moreover, he earned the respect of many veterans on the team. As he says in an epiphinous moment, he became a Bronco - not just some journalist hanging out in the locker room. Through his own determination (and the cooperation of the Broncos coaching staff), Fatsis not only gives you a terrific look at the inner workings of a modern NFL franchise, but what it is like to be (or aspire to be) a real NFL player. Plenty of books can detail the lives of NFL superstars, but I found it far more fascinating to see how life played out for the largely anonymous rookies and journeymen who found their way into Broncos training camp. All those who are prone to over-glamorizing the sport would do well to read this book and find out just how the vast majority of NFL players are treated - like disposable, de-humanized cogs to be plugged in and out (and in and out and in and out again) as the situation dictates. At times it seemed like I was peering at the inner workings of management in a Chinese garment factory instead of a modern American multi-million dollar entertainment business.
But not all the book is swept up such documentation and analysis - quite a lot of it (and some of the most engaging bits) deal with Fatsis' personal struggle to train, to learn his small bit of the offense, to force his middle-aged body to put up with the rigors of an NFL training camp. He successfully draws you in so well that you cheer at his few triumphs and wince at the all too often failings as camp wears on into the pre-season. The mental toughness that he develops is interesting. His quest reveals well how many players are physically gifted enough to play in the NFL, but few have the smarts and mental toughness to really make it long-term. And, as a player informs him after he spectacularly fails a kick under pressure with the whole team watching, "Now you really know what it is like to play in the NFL." We're all too often judged or remembered more for our failures instead of our successes. Or, as Jason Elam puts it, "you're only as good as your last kick." Fatsis' sometimes funny, sometimes ironic, but always honest exploration of his own desires to play, alongside that of his teammates are some of the best parts of the book. I had expected to be a little jaded with the sports psychology bits, but they were quite thought provoking.
All in all, this is a great book. Recommended for sports fans and non sports fans alike. The author reads his own book and clearly and vividly recalls a number of the episodes while reading.