Monday, January 11, 2010

The Long Snapper- Jeffrey Marx

Things my sons like: sports, girls, video games. Things my sons do not like: school, deep conversations with their mother, reading. As a mom and a reader, this breaks my heart, and I'm on a never-ending quest for "the book" that will turn them into readers. Add this title to that list.

Brian Kinchen is teaching his fourth period class at Parkview Baptist Middle School when he gets a call from the New England Patriots. They are two weeks from the playoffs and their long snapper is hurt. They want Kinchen, a retired 13 year veteran of the NFL, to try out for the position. Kinchen wins the position, and ultimately ends up as the snapper for the Patriots game-winning Super Bowl field goal.

In the six weeks in between the tryout and the Super Bowl, however, Kinchen goes through a horrific slump. During his 13 years in the NFL, he was known as a perfectly accurate and dependable snapper, but now, all of a sudden, his snaps are going everywhere but where they need to be. Kinchen does everything he can- watches himself on film, consults coaches, other players, practices every night at his motel, prays. He is terrified that his inconsistency will lose the big game for his team, and at one point, three days before the Super Bowl, even goes so far as to call the coach who brought him in for the tryout to tell him that he needs to find another long snapper.

This is a great story about passion and purpose and self esteem. My favorite lines from the book actually come from the movie Cool Running, about the Jamaican Bobsledding team. In the movie, it is the night before a big race, and the coach is talking to his team's driver. "A gold medal is a wonderful thing," he says. "But if you're not enough without it, you'll never be enough with it."

It's funny how sometimes books you read for other people end up speaking loudly to you…


Laura Lynn Benson said...

That is so true and so wise, Carol! You are my absolute favorite book guru xoxo

Mary Lee said...

If any book could do it for your Knuckleheads, this one sounds like the one...or you can just keep it for another good one for YOU.

How did you ever find this book???

Carol said...

I actually just happened upon it. I was at one of those giant mall bookstores picking up a copy of THE HELP for a friend's Christmas present and found it on a 50% off table. I had read something else by this author last year and loved it- he's a sports columnist and great storyteller- so I picked it up. It's a really fast read with a great message. I keep leaving it on the kitchen table with hopes that someone will pick it up.