By Stefan Fatsis
"An insightful and . . . a laugh examine the internal workings of professional soccer" (The big apple Times) from the bestselling writer of Word Freak
In Word Freak, Stefan Fatsis invaded the insular global of aggressive Scrabble gamers, finally attaining an expert-level score. Now, in his new booklet, he infiltrates a strikingly varied subculture-pro soccer. After greater than a 12 months of practise, Fatsis molded his fortyish physique into one who might stand up-barely-to the trials of NFL education. And for 3 months he grew to become a placekicker for the Denver Broncos. benefiting from remarkable entry to an NFL group and its gamers, and drawing on his personal own event, Fatsis with wry candor and hard-won empathy unveils the brain of the trendy seasoned athlete and the workings of a storied activities franchise as no author has ahead of.
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Additional info for A Few Seconds of Panic: A Sportswriter Plays in the NFL
Ronnie says the team’s part-time kicking advisor, Jeff Hays, attends perform on a daily basis. Denver is the infrequent NFL group that employs a kicking professional, he says. I ask what Hays does, and Bradford zips via a listing of kicking fundamentals—the positioning of the shoulders, the course of the plant foot, the purpose of the toe, the swing of the non-kicking arm around the physique. “You’ve realized it,” I say, inspired. Even this day, while soccer is a sophisticated technological know-how and the significance of the kicking video game hasn't ever been greater—in phrases of issues scored and box place decided through punts and kickoffs—some coaches don’t hassle with even a cursory examine of the mechanics of kicking. Ronnie says he desires to be capable of assessment functionality independently, and to set up credibility together with his fees. “Trust me,” he says. “I’m facing the collective brain. i'd be ready to idiot one, yet I’m unlikely with the intention to idiot all of them. ” “When you have been playing,” I ask, “when you checked out the kickers and punters, what did you're thinking that? ” “They dwell the existence. yet hear, they've got loads of strain on them. They look after themselves in addition to anyone. My no 1 isn’t going to be right here this week. ” “Elam’s no longer coming in any respect? ” I say, shocked. “Coach doesn’t brain if he comes. He acquired a hydraulic hip-flexing desktop for his condo. Stretches consistently. He sees leg men, a chiropractor man. 3 men he sees per week. humans say if you’re a cornerback and also you lose your pace you visit protection. If you’re a kicker and also you lose your consistency, you pass domestic. You can’t visit a special place. There’s no actual pounding, yet there’s strain. you will be a good lineman, you'll be a backup. We don’t have any backup kickers. ” “Specialist period,” within which the kickers paintings with their snappers and holders, happens at the start of perform, Ronnie tells me. Punting, kickoff, and field-goal drills come later, yet no longer on a daily basis. After that, kickers can “get a steam, see their again man, no matter what. I don’t do issues simply to fill time. ” My quantity nine perform jersey is dimension forty six, and waist-length. It has brief sleeves, a mesh chest and again, and a V-neck. The shoulders, hands, and aspects are made from stretchy nylon, and there's elastic round the sleeves. The blouse is enormous adequate to slot over shoulder pads yet no longer so gigantic as to seem ridiculous with out them. donning it makes me suppose as though i am getting paid to play soccer. whilst my on-field dance in entrance of the group ends, we get all the way down to enterprise. “ARMS UP! ” The piercing cry comes from the strength-and-conditioning trainer, wealthy Tuten, a barrel-chested guy with chiseled good points who strides in the course of the strains of avid gamers with the mien of Patton examining the 7th military. “ROTATE ahead! ” We windmill our hands ahead. “ROTATE again! ” again they pass. “LEGS unfold! OVER TO the suitable! ” We bend our correct knees and stretch our left groins. “UP! OVER TO THE LEFT! ” certain, sir. “UP! LEGS directly! correct LEG! ” Legs unfold a bit, all people bends over the perfect leg, loosening the hamstrings.