A prince of football tells all about growing up Gronk.
From his days as a young Gronkling through the victory in Super Bowl XLIX, New England Patriots tight end Gronkowski—with the assistance of sports agent Rosenhaus (co-author, with Terrell Owens: T.O., 2011, etc.)—apostrophizes the physical life. We are introduced to his family: four rowdy brothers, a rowdy father, and a seldom-mentioned mom. Simple sentences in a simple chronology (“That first game to start the 2007 season was against Brigham Young University, on the road…I had to go 100 percent on every single play…”) detail high school, college, and pro games, mostly victories, and the parts Gronkowski played in each. The prose does not grow with the boy, and apparently the boy doesn’t grow very much either. For example, the very young Gronkowski says of his brothers, “It was so much fun to me to tackle them when they weren’t looking,” and a more adult Gronk reports that “for no reason other than to get wild, I kicked my brother Gord in the groin and then body-slammed him.” Similarly, the descriptions of the offseason and postgame partying are interchangeable. Games are won; Gronk parties. Games are lost; Gronk parties. Injuries (serious ones) are sustained; Gronk parties. A genuine superstar and legendary free spirit, Gronkowski epitomizes one stereotype of an athlete: he trains hard, plays hard, and parties hard. Nothing else matters, and little else seems to occupy his attention. Anyone hoping to detect a sly grin or ironic wink will be disappointed. Size, strength, speed, intensity, and revelry are the only concerns in this realm of sometimes-vulgar physicality. One impressive note, however, is the author’s claim that he hasn’t spent “one dime of my signing bonus or NFL contract money.” Other pro athletes could at least learn from that.
It may be good to be Gronk; it’s not so great to read Gronk.