When Skip Granger, the assistant coach for the Washington Redskins, first sees Jesse Smoke, she is on the beach in Belize. And she has just thrown a regulation football a mile.
Granger knows that Smoke's talent is unprecedented for a woman and nearly unparalleled among men. As Granger observes her throughout a season as quarterback for the Washington Divas of the Independent Women's Football League, he decides to sign her to the Redskins, even as he faces losing his job and credibility.
As the first woman on a major NFL team, Jesse Smoke's astounding success places her in the tradition of athletes like Jackie Robinson and Joe Louis. Yet Smoke is quickly faced with her own battles, including the clamor of the press, the violence of her teammates and the institutional resistance that seeks to keep football in the hands of men.
While a female quarterback in the NFL is a fantasy at the moment, Robert Bausch's genius as a writer makes it a highly engaging reality on the page.
Fans of football - and listeners who were just waiting for a player worth getting excited about - will relish Jesse Smoke's journey to the big leagues.