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The Sweet Season: A Sportswriter Rediscovers…

The Sweet Season: A Sportswriter Rediscovers Football, Family, and a Bit…

by Austin Murphy

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Sports as a metaphor for life is always classic and wonderful. ( )
  Firecrackerscribe | Apr 2, 2013 |
3829. The Sweet Season: A Sportswriter Rediscovers Football, Family, and a Bit of Faith at Minnesota's St. John's University, by Austin Murphy (read 29 Nov 2003) This is a 2001 book by a writer for Sports Illustrated on the 1999 football season at St. John's and on John Gagliardi, the winningest college football coach of all time (on the day I finished the book he won his 411th game, this year his team being undefeated and still in contention for the national title in its division). I think this is the first book about football I have ever read, and while it had flaws--we learned far more about the author's family than one would expect in a football book--overall the book is a winner and one can't help but feel good that such places as St. John's and such people as John Gagliardi exist. ( )
  Schmerguls | Oct 7, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060505842, Paperback)

The Sweet Season is an aptly titled, vibrantly entertaining book. After a decade of fall travel covering games, longtime Sports Illustrated football reporter Austin Murphy forgoes the roadie lifestyle to move with his family and cover one of the best football programs in the nation, at Minnesota's St. John's University. With all the self-deprecating and witty style of Bill Bryson, Murphy depicts the coaches, players, monks (it is, after all, a Catholic school), his family, and himself as fallible humans and unsung heroes.

Above all, Murphy has fun here, in his silly depictions of small-town, college life, the simple delights his family brings, and the refreshment of football without superhuman egos. John Gagliardi, the 70-plus coach of St. John's, has won more games than any five active NFL coaches combined, despite a non-traditional coaching style devoid of full-contact scrimmages or hours of (useless) calisthenics. One Johnny exercise is the Beautiful Day Drill, where players flop down and stare at the sky, commenting on the loveliness overhead.

Murphy's football anecdotes are insightful, his humor relentless, and his game savvy tested. At the first St. John's game, Murphy "[watches] the kickoff transfixed, half-expecting Eau Claire's returner to go all the way. I mean, I've been with the Johnnies damned near a month and haven't seen them make a tackle. Who's to say they can do it?" As we find out, and opposing teams can attest, they hit hard, every season. Highly recommended. --Michael Ferch

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:21 -0400)

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