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.