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Paper Lion: Confessions of a Last-String…

Paper Lion: Confessions of a Last-String Quarterback (udgave 2006)

af George Plimpton

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
349855,390 (3.77)8
With his characteristic insight and wit, the Harvard-educated Plimpton recounts his experiences in successfully talking his way into training camp - not as a reporter but as a player - with the Detroit Lions, practicing with the team, and actually taking snaps behind center in a preseason game.
Titel:Paper Lion: Confessions of a Last-String Quarterback
Forfattere:George Plimpton
Info:The Lyons Press (2006), Edition: 1st, Paperback
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Nøgleord:sports, unowned, DAD

Detaljer om værket

Paper Lion: Confessions of a Last-String Quarterback af George Plimpton

  1. 00
    A Few Seconds of Panic: A 5-Foot-8, 170-Pound, 43-Year-Old Sportswriter Plays in the NFL af Stefan Fatsis (rhetter)
    rhetter: Reading "A Few Seconds of Panic" following "Paper Lion" gives you a clear view of how professional football has changed in the 45 years between the two books. Even if you don't want to read it for the snapshot of how football has become a business, you still have the fabulous stories by two great writers.… (mere)

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I know almost nothing about football. I’ve played maybe one or two touch football games in middle school around Thanksgiving. I’m not sure that I’ve ever watched an entire Super Bowl, let alone another game. I’ve heard of the infamous Harvard vs. Yale game, and hope to get a chance to attend some day. So why did I pick up this book?

I recently heard Michael Pollan say that, as a teenager, his parents gave him a copy of this book. Although Pollan has chosen a very different set up subjects than Plimpton, his approach is somewhat similar: taking a hands-on amateur approach to journalism. As a Pollan fan and an amateur writer myself, I thought I would read this book to see where Pollan received some of his early journalistic influence.

The premise of the book focuses around Plimpton’s journey in the mid sixties to be placed on a professional football team, culminating in the aim of playing a few games. After years of trying, Plimpton succeeded in joining the Detroit Lyons for three weeks of their pre-season training, although he failed to join them for any pro-league games.

Plimpton claims that his thesis is that being a professional football player isn’t something most people can do. As might be assumed, he is able to prove this point with his own failings as a player. Unfortunately, this doesn’t make for a very compelling narrative, as it reinforces our assumptions and doesn’t lead us to an evolution in our understanding of the subject. It would have been more exciting if, for example, Plimpton actually was able to be able to keep up with the pros. Or, alternately, if he were to take a less obvious stance.

I learned that football is a lot like chess. The field is laid out like a board, with different “holes” representing different places on the field that players move to. Also, there are a number of different positions with very different roles, builds, and abilities (such as linebacker versus quarter back). Also, players must memorize hundreds of different plays, to be called by the quarter back in the huddle and performed just moments later.

I was surprised by how much like children or soldiers was the treatment of football players during that era, such as curfew and punishments. Also, I was surprised to hear that most professional football players were toothless during that eras, even though they were in their youth—presumably due to the violence of the game and the lack of adequate protective gear. Although, I guess football players today still sustain permanent brain damage even with all their protection, which is far worse than missing teeth.

Apparently Plimpton had quite the remarkable life. He was a bit of a socialite—editor of The Paris Review, friends with Robert Kennedy, and constantly interfacing with different professional athletes (over the years he did a number of other projects structure in type to “Paper Lion”). He seems as though he was an exceedingly friendly and personable guy, able to ingratiate himself to all walk of society.

In the book, he references the evolution of the sport. Given that it was published more than fifty years ago, I assume the game has changed a lot since then, and I’m curious as to how.

Given the hype this book has received—some critics calling the best piece of sport journalism ever written—I was a little let down. Although it is entertaining, I don’t feel as though the book revealed any deeper truths, or spoke to much beyond the day-to-day of a professional athlete. Maybe it’s the kind of book that would be riveting for a football player or fan, but as I am neither, I found it nice but not excellent. ( )
  willszal | May 25, 2020 |
I've liked the work of Alan Alda ever since M.A.S.H., so when this came on TV, I decided to watch it. This was before the NFL became big in the UK, so most, if not all, of the game play went over my head. However, in time, the NFL was televised here, I became an armchair fan, and this is the 1989 edition, bought from the now-closed Sports Pages bookshop in Charing Cross Road, London. My son-in-law's family live near Detroit, so when I visit (during the NFL season, of course), I'll take in a game
  corracreigh | Jan 14, 2016 |
Written in the mid-1960s when professional football was only 40 years old and football organizations operated more loosely, "Paper Lion" is the story of George Plimpton's excursion into the world of quarterbacking. Plimpton trains as a quarterback and is allowed to run a series of five (disastrous) plays in an intra-squad exhibition. Yes, football was a business, but it was still fun.

The sense of fun is woven throughout the book, with Plimpton telling many stories of high-jinks and hanging out with the other players, talking, singing, playing cards, and pranks. In discussing coaches, he focuses on how each coach's character is revealed by how he plays cards.

Throughout the book, there are tips from top players of the time. Plimpton covers quarterbacking, defensive safety, and playing on the line.

Plimpton is a keen observer of human quirks and uses them to bring people to life on the written page. He has a light, breezy style, which makes this a fun book to read.
  Deb85 | Mar 12, 2011 |
Readable and enjoyable tale of a geeks adventure into jockland- before the apothoesized themselves. Things in sports were better then, and this book is a fine example of the difference. ( )
  JNSelko | May 11, 2010 |
Excellent writing about being a outsider in the Detroit Lions camp. One of Plimpton's earliest and best examples of participatory sports journalism. ( )
  Othemts | Nov 19, 2008 |
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With his characteristic insight and wit, the Harvard-educated Plimpton recounts his experiences in successfully talking his way into training camp - not as a reporter but as a player - with the Detroit Lions, practicing with the team, and actually taking snaps behind center in a preseason game.

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