Romo: My Life on the Edge: Living Dreams and Slaying Dragons

Romo: My Life on the Edge: Living Dreams and Slaying Dragons

by Bill Romanowski

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061152177
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/05/2006
Edition description: REPRINT
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 334,990
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.75(d)

About the Author

Bill Romanowski lives in California with his wife, Julie, and their two children.

Read an Excerpt

Romo

My Life on the Edge: Living Dreams and Slaying Dragons
By Bill Romanowski

William Morrow

ISBN: 0-06-075863-5


Chapter One

My Body's Like an Army

As a little boy, I was keenly aware of how my parents struggled with managing our family finances. There were too many nights when I would be sitting at the kitchen table, trying to make myself invisible as they wrestled with making ends meet. Even when I went to bed, I could hear them through the walls, worrying about how they were going to come up with the money to keep my four siblings, and our family, afloat. Maybe a second mortgage, maybe Mom would take on second jobs. Whatever it took to not only pay the bills, but also to put their five children through college.

Moments like those cut deeply into my view of my world and my future. Back then I was just anxious that they were troubled. Then, as I got older, I understood it more. There was nothing scarier than watching your parents, the foundations of our security, being rocked by whatever their problems were.

Dad suffered a stroke while he was at work. When I got home from school that day, Mom told me that Daddy was in the hospital with a brain aneurysm. Being nine years old, I didn't know what that meant. It wasn't hard to figure out once we went to visit him.

Doctors had shaved the hair off half his head, and he had a huge scar where they opened his scalp to go into his brain. It scared me and my mom. Even though Dad recovered well, I saw how afraid Mom was at the prospect of losing him. We all have our memories, and the scary ones seem to stay with us longer and follow us into adulthood.

One night some years later, probably around eighth or ninth grade, I remember being hit with the revelation that I could actually do something about my family's financial troubles and save my parents from at least a portion of their constant worries. I could earn a college scholarship. I didn't know whether I could make it baseball, basketball, or football. I didn't know whether I was actually good enough. But I knew if I made it my goal and worked hard enough at it, something positive would result. And if sports weren't enough, then I'd simply enlist in the military, like my dad did during the Korean War, and use the G.I. Bill to pay for my tuition.

Dreaming, I found, was the easier part. What was tougher was figuring out how to make it happen. I didn't have a road map to get from here to there. For whatever reasons, I didn't feel as if I had anyone to guide me. And I kept my intentions to myself. Looking back, I was afraid to share my dream out loud because I felt insecure about who I was and what I was capable of.

Sports were my logical ticket. I had my older brothers' rolemodeling, but they also enjoyed hunting and fishing with Dad while I seemed more consumed with sports, or limited to that single passion. I wasn't sure what to do with that passion until I had an epiphany that would transform me forever. Instantly, I felt aligned with a purpose.

Even today, I remember picking up the October 4, 1982, issue of Sports Illustrated and reading an eight-page article on the then-University of Georgia running back Herschel Walker titled, "My Body's Like an Army." Funny thing is, we didn't even have a subscription to the magazine. One of my friends, John Steed, did, and I stumbled across it by accident one day at his house. When I recently reread it, I realized not only did I remember the details, but I could feel the same excitement that I felt all that time ago.

When he was twelve, Herschel went to Tom Jordan, the local track-and-field coach in Wrightsville, Georgia, and asked him how he could get bigger, stronger and faster. Jordan gave him a simple game plan: push-ups, sit-ups, and sprints.

"During that first year Walker had done these exercises every day, unless rain kept him from sprinting along the road leading from his house down to the highway," the reporter wrote. "Jordan had never said how much to do, just to do those three things regularly. To Herschel, 'regularly' meant every single day, and by the end of that critical first year, he had done more than 100,000 push-ups, more than 100,000 sit-ups and had sprinted nearly half a million yards.

"He almost always did his push-ups and sit-ups in the evening, while he was either studying or watching television or, more usually, both. During every commercial break he would pump out a quick 25 push-ups and 25 sit-ups or would alternate the push-ups and sit-ups, doing 50 push-ups during one break, then 50 sit-ups during the next, until he had accumulated approximately 300 of each." Isn't that a great way to make use of that annoying commercial time?

This was inspiring stuff. Soon after, a little voice started speaking to me: Here's somebody who succeeded in football and here's how he did it. Here's what he did to get stronger. Here's what he did to get faster. Here's what he did to become the best possible athlete.

I wasn't startled by this voice. It was almost as if I was waiting for it, and it would come to me regularly throughout my life at times when I needed to hear it most - I came to think of it as my guardian angel. That first time it was comforting me, reassuring me, yet challenging me to do what it was telling me - or I would have to account to myself if I didn't. Here I was looking for a direction, seeking a road map, and now something spiritual, almost mystical, was taking over. Wherever this voice was coming from, I had to follow it to the letter. And between the article and the voice, I had my very first prescription: Push-ups, sit-ups, and sprints. Every day....

(Continues...)



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Romo: My Life on the Edge: Living Dreams and Slaying Dragons 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Romo My Life on the Edge: Living Dreams and Slaying Dragons by Bill Romanowski was a great book about Romo's life and football career. He tells of his difficulties growing up in watching his parents struggle with money and not having a real direction. Romo really lets you into his head, we learn the extreme drive he has. He needs to be the best and he will not stand for failure, to the point where he took performance enhancing drugs and also to the point when his body begins to fail him and he continues to pursue the thing he loves most in life. I thought Romo wrote an amazing autobiography of his life. It was well written and he really kept your interest the whole book. I watch football when my team plays but I am not an avid viewer and I still really enjoyed reading this book. I recommend it to anyone whether you like football or not this book is really about one mans journey through life and his drive to accomplish his dreams and the struggles that come with anything worth achieving in life.
Brandon11 More than 1 year ago
Great Intentions, Poor Decisions: Bill Romanowski desired to build a name for himself in the NFL so much so that he put the future health of his body at risk trying any method of performance enhancers he could. I am conducting an in depth research project on what affects drugs and performance enhancing drugs on athletes. I chose this book to gain the insight as to why an athlete gets into doing such drugs and how they feel about any negative outcomes. This book gives great insight because he shares his thoughts and reasons why he did every different drug throughout his career. It helped me to better understand different scenarios of how athletes could get into these issues. A major message this books gives off is to know and understand what you are doing to your body, treat your body with respect, and find the healthiest and safest methods to improve and use your body. Whether your interested in drug use in the NFL or just a fan of the brutal sport of football, this book is worth your time to read. Great book, solid 5 out of 5 stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
chan76 More than 1 year ago
Romo My Life on The Edge: Living Dreams and Slaying Dragons is a very interesting autobiography written by NFL great Bill Romanski. He talks about growing up in a troubled home and how he dedicated his heart and soul to football. Later in his life, he made some questionable decisions regarding illegal, performance enhancing drugs. He also talks of his dozens of concussions and his dizzy spells, memory lapses, and continuing symptoms from them. He went to two Probowls and four Superbowls. He left a lasting impression on his opponents and the NFL. I loved this book. To hear a firsthand account of an NFL legend was fascinating to me. It was amazing the lengths he went to just to be the best. This is a great book and I would give it 5 out of 5 stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hadache More than 1 year ago
I havnt finished the book, but as a Football Player i relate to what he says. its inspiring to know others who work so hard and do crazy stupid workouts constantly... i thought i was abnormal, its a group, wanna join?
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book because as an avid football fan I wanted to learn a little more about the man who put my hometown of Rockville (Vernon), Connecticut on the map. He has a huge legacy here, especially at Rockville High School where he was instrumental in getting us the football stadium lights we enjoy to this day. I'd heard the 'bad boy' stories of his youth (no doubt exagerated), but wanted to know what was it that made him 'meaner' than most on the football field. In the very beginning of his story, Romo provides the answer, when he offers his definition of the purpose of football. Here I always thought that despite the violence of the game, the purpose was either to advance the ball down the field to ultimately score (offense)or to stop the opposing team from moving the ball (defense). Pretty simple, huh? But read Bill Romanowski's definition and you see that his idea of the game's main goal is to inflict pain on his opponents. It goes a long way to explain so much of the damage he did even after a player was down. He had it all wrong from the start. Thing is, I couldn't enjoy the book. I just couldn't find a way to like let alone understand the man. I appreciate his honesty and that he doesn't get into too much tattling on his co-workers, but I can't honestly say I care much about his insecurities. Every NFL player has them, but most don't stoop to his level. And for the most part he doesn't offer much of an apology. His obsessive compulsive behavior when it comes to fitness and nutrition combined with his intense fears of failure and loss of the adulation (translation: huge ego) proved to be a volatile combination. By the way, the nutrition/fitness information, which comprised the bulk of the book, may be interesting for health gurus, but serves to make it a dull read. After all, who would seek out health and fitness advice from someone whose only criteria for not taking a pill or injection is if the drug can be tested for? It's good to know now that he's retired from the game that he is taking steps to get his head together, and one hopes he figures out for the second half of his life that what he really needs is to let go of some of that obsessive intensity. I wish him luck.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is fantastic for the sports fan who either once played football or is playing football. I can relate to Romo, as I was forced to hang up my helmet because of concussions, but never took performance enhancing drugs, but the idea did come across. I would do anything to play football again, it has been six long years since I last geared up for a game or practice and I miss it everyday. Football is a brutal sport and for someone to be able to play professional for football for sixteen seasons is amazing, the average career in the NFL is about five seasons. But Romo was ruthless and would be very aggressive and demanding on the field just like any leader should be for his team. Recommend this book to anyone and everyone, especially if interested in nutrition and such. Since reading this book I have took a whole new look on nutrition and this book really has changed my life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love it. I love to hear about his passion for the game, and what he would do to get himself in the NFL.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book as it reminded me to give your full effort in everything you do. I also think his motivations were the same ones we in the business world often live by. You have a lot of people talking smack who have not accomplished 20% of what Bill has. I found it truly motivating.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Holy pucker factor. Romo lets you in his head. From the questionable tackles, breaking Collins jaw, his family and his view on supplements and of the 'steroids,' use in the league. If your a football fan and must have/read book
Guest More than 1 year ago
My title? That is what it takes to play linebacker in the NFL. No one does it at Romo's level, in today's game, for sixteen years with out help. Romo got help in disciplined his body but also enhanced it like an obsessed mad scientist. He had taking care of that machine of a body down to a science and it showed up in his hard hitting, shut down, in your opponents' face type of style. It also like all men sent him into fits of rage where he became almost out of control at times. Other great players have died doing this like Lyle Alzado, so Romo is lucky. He like Jack Tatum before him will never make the Hall Of Fame because of this style of play. Like Tatum he was a true football player though and played the game as it is meant to, as aggressive as possible. Romo was old school in that he played hard and hit hard. Today's players are better athletes than they have ever been but are as lousy football players as they have ever been. Today not only can they not hit, they can't even tackle. Romo, would clean your clock and let you know he was going to do it again. This is a good book but Romo pushed the envelope to the level you could not call him a role model. Romo was destined for a career in broadcasting but after raging in practice one day and breaking a brother's face he will always be known now as just another bad boy. That is too bad because I thought he would have been a great broadcaster. (Greatness can be tarnished by just a few instances of a lack of self control. Lack of self control always comes from any type of dope one takes. This is the hardest game in the world to walk away from a Romo took the dope to hold on to the game he loved and his dreams. This does not excuse the couple of instances though where he hurt people. Romo's legacy will grow to legend and he will be known and spoken of in some of the same sentences as Dick Butkus and some of the more fearsome Backers in leaugue history.