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.More
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Living a dream.
A Few Hours of Pleasure
- Joshua Kim