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Publisher's Summary

In Word Freak, Stefan Fatsis infiltrated the insular world of competitive Scrabble players, ultimately achieving expert status (comparable to a grandmaster ranking in chess). Now he infiltrates a strikingly different subculture: pro football. After more than a year spent working out with a strength coach and polishing his craft with a gurulike kicking coach, Fatsis molded his 40ish body into one that could stand up - barely - to the rigors of NFL training. Over three months in 2006, he became a Denver Bronco. He trained with the team and lived with the players. He was given a locker and uniforms emblazoned with the number 9. He was expected to perform all the drills and regimens required of other kickers. He was unlike his teammates in some ways -most notably, his livelihood was not on the line as was theirs. But he became remarkably like them in many ways: he risked crippling injury just as they did, endured the hazing that befalls all rookies, daily gorged on 4,000 calories, and slogged through two-a-day practices in blistering heat.
Not since George Plimpton's stint as a Detroit Lion more than 40 years ago has a writer tunneled so deeply into the NFL.
At first, the players tolerated Fatsis or treated him like a mascot, but over time, they began to think of him as one of them. And he began to think like one of them. Like the other Broncos - like all elite athletes - he learned to perfect a motion through thousands of repetitions, to play through pain, to silence the crowd's roar, and to banish self-doubt.
©2008 Stefan Fatsis (P)2008 Tantor
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Robert on 09-19-08

Living a dream.

Stefan Fatsis provides a look into every football fans fantasy, life in the NFL. Life in an NFL training camp as a kicker Stefan Fatsis gives us an insight not as an NFL player, but that of a fan living a dream. The book evolves around the pressures of kicking, but does an excellent job of how fragile NFL careers are and the ups and downs of players living on the edge. I enjoyed this book very much.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Joshua Kim on 06-10-12

A Few Hours of Pleasure

Fatsis is one of my favorite sports journalists. His writing for the WSJ and his commentaries for NPR about the industry of sports are always smart and informative. I loved his last book, Word Freak, which even got me to play scrabble again. In his latest book Fatsis tells the story of joining the Denver Broncos as "rookie" field goal kicker during training camp. We get an insider account of the often brutal business of the NFL, a sub-culture largely closed to outsiders despite the fact that teams play in front of millions each Sunday.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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