"HUDDLE: Fathers, Sons, and Football" by Andrew H. Malcolm

"HUDDLE: Fathers, Sons, and Football"

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An odd entry from talented and usually trenchant New York Times reporter and columnist Malcolm (Someday, 1991, etc.)--a paean to high-school football and those who coach it, with nary a negative word for either. While the subtitle speaks of fathers and sons, that's only a starting point for Malcolm's lengthy (nearly two-thirds of the text) recounting of his high-school football heroics. Of greatest interest here, but dropped all too soon, is his discussion of the ""Dad Aura""--a kind of magical speaking with the ""Voice of Authority,"" whether the subject is football or woodworking--by which knowledge is passed from father to son. Malcolm likens the hours he spent with his father by the radio or in front of the TV to ""a kind of Socratic sports experience""; but, here, the wisdom he may have garnered amounts to little more than common adages about always making one's best effort and learning from mistakes and defeats by turning ""a minus into a plus."" The author is thrilled that his own sons share his initial attraction to football--""the legality of knocking people down."" A hard-playing linebacker and fullback, Malcolm is still able to get pumped up over elbowing an opposing player under the chin and knocking him cold. (""The meek might inherit the earth, but they'd never make the football team."") In his final pages, he offers a play-by-play recap of his youngest son's football games and wrestling matches. Well written and at times astute, but not what you'd expect from a writer nominated five times for a Pulitzer.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1992
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster