Paper Tiger: One Athlete's Journey to the Underbelly of Pro Football [NOOK Book]

Overview

Former college football player Ted Kluck had a dream: to return to the playing field and try to stir the dying embers of his athletic prowess. So he got an idea to try to sign on with a professional team, the Battle Creek Crunch of the Great Lakes Indoor Football League.

 

Kluck, who writes regularly for ESPN.com, has a wry eye for detail, and in Paper Tiger his colorful observations of the characters who populate the lower rungs of professional football are drenched in ...

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Paper Tiger: One Athlete's Journey to the Underbelly of Pro Football

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Overview

Former college football player Ted Kluck had a dream: to return to the playing field and try to stir the dying embers of his athletic prowess. So he got an idea to try to sign on with a professional team, the Battle Creek Crunch of the Great Lakes Indoor Football League.

 

Kluck, who writes regularly for ESPN.com, has a wry eye for detail, and in Paper Tiger his colorful observations of the characters who populate the lower rungs of professional football are drenched in sweat. Here are the eccentrics, the cynics, the football addicts who don't know when to stop. Twelve-hour bus rides, alcohol-fueled antics, substandard practice facilities, and meager paydays are only the tip of the iceberg. For the first time, Kluck shares his account of this grueling lifestyle in a way that will resound with sports fans and readers everywhere.

 

Part Paper Lion and part Bull Durham, the book will tell the stories of the dreamers and the world-class athletes with promise who never quite made the next step. With Kluck’s humorous and poignant prose, Paper Tiger is destined to become a sports classic.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

A less-than-mediocre football player turned ESPN.com columnist refuses to give up at age 30, playing for the Battle Creek Crunch in the Great Lakes Indoor Football League, which he describes as "the end of the football world." His dream turns to nightmare on the poorly managed team that sees players-who all work such day jobs as cops, teachers and fry cooks-go without getting paid and scramble to find enough jerseys, helmets and pads. Kluck loses his job as long snapper in the second game and gets very little playing time until the final game of the regular season, when he actually makes a tackle. Of this glorious culmination of the book's journey, he writes, "I'm in the record books. I'm a statistic." Kluck recounts a litany of mundane details such as what the players do to kill time before the games start, what they get to eat at gas station stops or what radio stations he listens to on the way to practice. He refers to the movie Slapshotso many times he even parenthetically asks how many times he can get away with quoting it. And as if trying to fill space within the narrative, he includes the full text of e-mails he wrote and received while working on the book. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
Sportswriter Kluck (Facing Tyson, 2006) offers a superficial chronicle of his experiences in pro football's minor leagues. After a two-year semi-pro career that ended with a broken collarbone in 2001, the author decided at the advanced age of 30 to attempt one last hurrah by signing on with a minor league team: the Battle Creek Crunch of the Great Lakes Indoor Football League. Unfortunately, Kluck proves less interested in the hidden facets of professional football's lower rungs than in the sport's more mundane aspects. He describes in detail boring bus rides to the games, violent collisions on the field and hours of pure athleticism in the weight room, which he finds tremendously rewarding. He never refers to disagreements or conflicts among players, never suggests that any of his teammates might use performance-enhancing drugs, rarely gives any glimpse into the nonprofessional lives of his teammates. An opportunity for drama arises when Battle Creek Crunch owner Mike Powell abandons his financial responsibilities and allows the league to take over his team. The author arranges a meeting with Powell, who lied to his players, refused to pay their salaries and even stopped paying into their insurance plan. Yet Kluck refrains from any kind of confrontation, meekly listening as Powell provides excuses for his conduct and never asking the hard questions readers expect from a journalist-or a disgruntled employee, for that matter. Knowing they will probably never be paid, the players slog on and make it to the playoffs despite a losing record. But their willingness to continue seems to reflect apathy more than competitive fire. Readers hoping for a revealing insider's account in the vein ofGeorge Plimpton's Paper Lion will be disappointed.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762766338
  • Publisher: Globe Pequot Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2007
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 1,358,860
  • File size: 433 KB

Meet the Author

Ted Kluck's work has appeared in ESPN The Magazine, Sports Spectrum magazine, Cyberboxingzone.com, and several small literary journals. A bimonthly column for Sports Spectrum magazine entitled "Pro and Con" won the Evangelical Press Association award for best standing column. 

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     vii
Introduction: The Tryout, 1997     xi
Dispatches from Week Two     1
Semipro, 1999-2001     3
The Spirit of the Thing, Present Day     11
The Past (or, Where I Live)     39
One More Summer in the Sun     51
It's All Happening     67
Ridin' Dirty     77
Things Fall Apart     109
Good Story     135
A Prayer for Chesaurae Rhodes     177
Character     191
The Last Picture Show     197
Epilogue: The Tryout, 2006     207
Appendix     213
Index     215
About the Author     225
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Recipe


Former college football player Ted Kluck had a dream: to return to the playing field and try to stir the dying embers of his athletic prowess. So he got an idea to try to sign on with a professional team, the Battle Creek Crunch of the Great Lakes Indoor Football League.

 

Kluck, who writes regularly for ESPN.com, has a wry eye for detail, and in Paper Tiger his colorful observations of the characters who populate the lower rungs of professional football are drenched in sweat. Here are the eccentrics, the cynics, the football addicts who don't know when to stop. Twelve-hour bus rides, alcohol-fueled antics, substandard practice facilities, and meager paydays are only the tip of the iceberg. For the first time, Kluck shares his account of this grueling lifestyle in a way that will resound with sports fans and readers everywhere.

 

Part Paper Lion and part Bull Durham, the book will tell the stories of the dreamers and the world-class athletes with promise who never quite made the next step. With Kluck’s humorous and poignant prose, Paper Tiger is destined

to become a sports classic.

Read More Show Less

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