- Taschenbuch: 384 Seiten
- Verlag: Penguin Books; Auflage: Reprint (4. August 2009)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0143115472
- ISBN-13: 978-0143115472
- Vom Hersteller empfohlenes Alter: Ab 18 Jahren
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 14 x 2,1 x 21,5 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 1 Kundenrezension
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 375.692 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
A Few Seconds of Panic: A Sportswriter Plays in the NFL (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 4. August 2009
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" [Fatsis's] sharp eye for detail and genuine empathy for his teammates make A Few Seconds of Panic exceptional."
" Fatsis deftly explores how business permeates every aspect of the NFL. . . . [He] is able to penetrate the players' psyches in a way that few sportswriters have."
-Los Angeles Times
" What [Fatsis] has pulled off with his modern twist on Plimpton's 1966 classic, Paper Lion, is remarkable . . . an unflinching look behind the curtain at America's most popular professional sport and the men who play it."
-Minneapolis Star- Tribune
The author of Word Freak recounts his experience of becoming a placekicker for the Denver Broncos, an effort during which he gained rare access to top NFL players, coaches, and facilities while enduring the grueling process of professional-level athletics training. Simultaneous. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe.Alle Produktbeschreibungen
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Nun bin ich überhaupt kein Footballfan, aber ich fand das Buch dennoch ausgesporchen interessant und gut zu lesen - Fatsis hat eine flotte, witzige Schreibe und schafft es besonders den Leistungsdruck der Athleten und das Seelenleben seiner Mitspieler zu beschreiben, ohne pathetisch zu werden. Ich kenne kein Buch, dass einem die Welt des Profisports so nahebringt wie dieses!
Allerdings werden zumindest rudimentäre Football-Kenntnisse vorrausgesetzt und gerade bei den Positionen kommt man als Laie schnell durcheinander - das ist jedoch kaum die Schuld des Autoren, der ja für den amerikanischen und nicht den deutschen Markt geschrieben hat.
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Fatsis wanted to experience camp and the accompanying thoughts & emotions like a regular NFL player. Rejected previously by a number of NFL teams, he finally finds a willing partner in the Broncos, who prove to be an accessible and open organization. He has extensive conversations with Pat Bowlen (the owner), Ted Sundquist (the GM) and Mike Shanahan (the long-time, all-powerful head coach).
Fatsis spends a lot of time with the kickers and punters, who describe their camp experience as "eat, play video games, go on the computer" (40). Jason Elam, co-holder of an NFL record 63-yd FG completion, is described as "the kid in high school who gets along equally well with the jocks, the brains, the geeks and the slackers, and influences their behavior." (113) Elam is a right-wing Christian who hunts in Africa, writes Armageddon-based novels and gives friendly advice (and roots for) Fatsis. Micah Knorr is a journeyman punter who is brought in after Todd Sauerbrun is suspended for 4 games because positive test for ephedra. Todd lives in "Toddworld," doesn't like football anymore, and he gives a cynical perspective about life in the NFL.
Fatsis attends a rookie orientation with 14 other players. When asked the age that the average NFL career ends, Jay Cutler guesses 27. "Twenty-six," (72) is the correct answer. Life in the NFL is brutal, and except for Sundays, not at all glamorous. Fatsis compares Ben Hamilton's fingers to "cracks in a shattered windshield. Not a single digit remotely straight." (116). Players don't report little injuries, and more often than not, they don't seek treatment. Players live in fear of getting cut or replaced, and most of the 70+ players that report to camp each summer do not make much money.
Ian Gold describes football as just "a money making machine" (203) and that "they're looking for your replacement the day you step foot in this door." (203) Chapter 12 describes the experiences of Kyle Johnson (back-up fullback), Gold (starting outside linebacker) and Adam Meadows (an offensive lineman who came out of retirement for another shot) at length. While grateful for the opportunity and the money, all of them have had some trying experiences.
Shanahan thrusts Fatsis into the spotlight in the middle of practice one day: "He's going to kick. If he makes it, meetings will end at nine instead of nine thirty." (146) He misses the kick and collapses in disgrace on the field. A couple of players race to him and ask the coach for another kick. Fatsis misses again, costing the team a total of "45 hours of freedom" (149). His teammates alternately rip him (with some hilarious vulgarity on page 151) or ignore him. Because of the pressure and failure, Fatsis begins to get an idea of what life is like as an NFL player at training camp.
Jake Plummer (starting QB), Preston Parsons (4th string QB), Nate Jackson (DB), PJ Alexander (back-up OL), Tony Scheffler (rookie TE) are all entertaining characters who open up to Fatsis throughout the book. All of them come off as extremely genuine and likeable.
Fatsis leaves the team at the end of training camp, but he continues to follow the Broncos (and the players from camp that end up on other teams). In the Epilogue, he describes the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Cutler replaces Plummer; Darrent Williams is murdered on New Year's; Elam leaves for Atlanta, Sauerbrun is cut, resigned and then cut again; Plummer retires; Sundquist is fired. "This bit of where-are-they-now about my Broncos is, I realize, kind of depressing...," he writes (but it is fascinating). "Of the more than one hundred men who spent time with the Broncos while I was in Denver, just half are in training camp in 2007, less than a third on the roster in September" (330). Life in the NFL is fleeting indeed.
I reviewed Paper Lion, which was enjoyable largely because of its novelty and humor. Plimpton was the first journalist to embed himself with an NFL team, and his self-deprecating humor shone through. Also, Plimpton had the incomparable Alex Karras and his hysterical stories for material. More than 40 years have passed and sportswriter Stefan Fatsis is the first since Plimpton to go behind the scenes and document the NFL of today as a player. Much has changed.
Football is supposed to be fun, but the NFL of today comes across largely as a grim business. As a Denver Bronco, Fatsis encounters firsthand the adversarial relationship between players and management. The 1990's brought free agency to the NFL, which benefited players financially by enabling them to switch teams, selling their talents to the highest bidder. An NFL career is short, and players scramble to make as much money as they can in their few top earning years as a professional athlete. As Fatsis points out, the problem lies in the fact that since "players were less loyal to teams, so teams were less loyal to players." The result has been that players are loyal only to the team who pays them the most, and teams use players like meat, often using them only to secure a win (or to motivate other players to win by threatening the starters' jobs) and ruthlessly discarding them when no longer needed.
Fatsis learning to kick is fun, and it is interesting meeting the players in the locker room and getting to know them. We see firsthand the cold ruthlessness of Mike Shanahan. Chad Mustard is a great Scrabble player (a fact which Fatsis uses to plug his book on competitive Scrabble, Word Freak). We watch as punter Todd Sauerbrun intimidates his competition in training camp and becomes a cancer in the locker room. All-time great kicker Jason Elam talks about his hunting exploits and Christian mission work. We also see how the tragic murder of cornerback Darrent Williams mere hours after the last game of the season effects the team. Far from passionate collegiate athletes, most of the pros presented here are just doing a job, trying to provide for their families, and trying not to get hurt in the process.
The "everyman" angle in this book is fun up to a point, but it seems a bit self-serving after a while. The book also highlights a problem with participatory journalism. As a journalist, Fatsis is hesitant to bite the hand that feeds him. One of the biggest problems faced by the NFL today involves reported rampant drug use. The author broaches the subject only briefly, limiting his observations to Todd Sauerbrun's 4 game suspension for ephedra use.
The book feels light. Fatsis doesn't dig too deeply, and as a result it seems that he is not giving us the full story on the team that allowed him this rare access.