GIANTS AND HEROES: A Daughter's Memories of Y.A. Tittle by Dianne Tittle de Laet

GIANTS AND HEROES: A Daughter's Memories of Y.A. Tittle

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A poet, storyteller, and professional harpist writes about her life as the daughter of Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Y.A. Tittle. Looking back on her father's career, de Laet reflects that it was ""a life in which some kind of excellence was achieved"" and, asking herself how, decides to retell his story in search of an answer. Tittle is the only quarterback in the Hall who never won a championship, but he came close on several occasions. The balding, jug-eared Texan was a superb field general, with an unerring arm and--in an era when quarterbacks still called their own plays--a terrific head for tactics and strategy. Anyone who reads this expecting to find out that he was a bad father or husband will be, thank goodness, disappointed. His daughter, who is an avid student of the Greek and Latin classics, likens him repeatedly to the great heroes of classical literature. Like Odysseus, he might have been guilty of a little distance from the family, but on the whole, Tittle emerges as a decent, genuinely likeable person. More than that, his era of pro football, which ended around the time of his last season, 1963, is seen as a more graceful and stoic one, lacking the posturing and taunting that seem so integral to sports today. De Laet's prose veers between the genuinely poetic (the image of ""offensive huddles pop[ping] apart like snapdragons"" is a particularly pleasing one) and the wildly overripe. It is useful to be reminded how hard an athlete's life can be on his family, with privacy disrupted by both well-meaning fans and dangerous cranks, and de Laet is admirably candid on this subject. A pleasant, warm book that occasionally suffers from its author's overheated prose.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1995
Page count: 264pp
Publisher: Steerforth