Paper Tiger: One Athlete's Journey to the Underbelly of Pro Football

Ted A. Kluck, Author Lyons $24.95 (223p) ISBN 978-1-59921-043-8

A less-than-mediocre football player turned ESPN.com columnist refuses to give up at age 30, playing for the Battle Creek Crunch in the Great Lakes Indoor Football League, which he describes as “the end of the football world.” His dream turns to nightmare on the poorly managed team that sees players—who all work such day jobs as cops, teachers and fry cooks—go without getting paid and scramble to find enough jerseys, helmets and pads. Kluck loses his job as long snapper in the second game and gets very little playing time until the final game of the regular season, when he actually makes a tackle. Of this glorious culmination of the book's journey, he writes, “I'm in the record books. I'm a statistic.” Kluck recounts a litany of mundane details such as what the players do to kill time before the games start, what they get to eat at gas station stops or what radio stations he listens to on the way to practice. He refers to the movie Slapshot so many times he even parenthetically asks how many times he can get away with quoting it. And as if trying to fill space within the narrative, he includes the full text of e-mails he wrote and received while working on the book. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 05/28/2007
Release date: 09/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
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