Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival from the Bottom of the Pile (Anglais) Relié – 17 septembre 2013
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Descriptions du produit
Revue de presse
“Excellent...busts through pro football’s prevailing mythology...Nate Jackson gives us the game warts and all, but never in a drag-ass, woe-is-me way. A really fine book. Man can write.” ( Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk )
“A tremendously authentic, inside-the-locker-room view is unveiled with Jackson’s myriad stories, clever wit, skillful prose and perfect dose of sophomoric humor.” (San Jose Mercury News)
“Simply the best book by a former player about life in the NFL that you will read. Maybe the best book period about life in the NFL that you will read.” ( Stefan Fatsis, author of A Few Seconds of Panic: A Sportswriter Plays in the NFL )
“Slow Getting Up tells the whole truth about the NFL. Painfully honest and remarkably funny, it’s far and away the best ‘insider’ book about pro sports since Jim Bouton’s Ball Four.” (Scott Raab, author of The Whore of Akron)
“The book the world has been waiting for. “Ball Four” for the football world is here at last.” ( Tom Junod, via Twitter )
“Fantastic.” (Jonathan Mahler, Bloomberg)
“The best football memoir ever.” (Rolling Stone)
“Excellent.” (New Republic)
Présentation de l'éditeur
Nate Jackson’s Slow Getting Up is an unvarnished and uncensored memoir of everyday life in the most popular sports league in America—and the most damaging to its players—the National Football League.
After playing college ball at a tiny Division III school, Jackson, a receiver, signed as a free agent with the San Francisco 49ers, before moving to the Denver Broncos. For six seasons in the NFL as a Bronco, he alternated between the practice squad and the active roster, eventually winning a starting spot—a short, tenuous career emblematic of the average pro player.
Drawing from his own experience, Jackson tells the little known story of the hundreds of everyday, "expendable" players whose lives are far different from their superstar colleagues.
From scouting combines to training camps, off-season parties to game-day routines, debilitating physical injuries—including degenerative brain conditions—to poor pensions and financial distress, he offers a funny, and shocking look at life in the NFL, and the young men who risk their health and even their lives to play the game.
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Nate Jackson spent six years in the NFL. He was not a star, but he was part of the team. He was a working-class, sore-knees, broken fingers guy who lived life one season at a time. With this book, Jackson has written a revealing, funny, profane look at the day-to-day life of an NFL player.
Talk about the NFL tends to focus on the stars - Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, etc. This book is a welcome reminder that there are 53 guys on each NFL team, and although not all of them are known by name, they endure training camp, take the routine abuse of regular season games and just do their jobs for their love of the game and our entertainment. Jackson chronicles the life of an NFL regular with no self-pity, amazing honesty and a wry sense of humor. If you love the NFL, you'll probably like this book.
After beginning with a 2008 hamstring injury that ultimately spelled the end of Jackson's career (physical maladies and the arduous rehabilitation associated with them will be a common theme throughout the piece) Slow Getting Up chronicles Jackson's improbable journey from Division III star at Menlo College to making an NFL roster and sticking around and contributing in the league for several years. Each chapter generally covers a season and the book moves at a fast clip and reads like a series of fleshed-out blog posts. He devotes early passages to outlining the draft process and his attempts to stick with the San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted free agent. Jackson is eventually traded to the Broncos during training camp in 2003 and he initially manages to stick on the practice squad before spending a few years as a backup tight end and special teamer with Denver. The author's relatively long tenure allows him to mine a considerable amount of anecdotal gems from his playing career, such as playing for the Rhein Fire in NFL Europe, losing to the Steelers in the 2005 AFC Championship Game, enduring a surreal training camp with Eric Mangini's Cleveland Browns in 2009, and trying to catch on with the cash-strapped Las Vegas Locomotives of the UFL.
Slow Getting Up is one of the few player memoirs to really focus on an athlete treading the tenuous line between the practice squad and special teams and a career outside of the NFL. Understandably, most publishers are not really enamored with putting out books by authors with only 2 more NFL touchdowns than their general audience. Because Jackson is not able to describe what it feels like to catch a game winning touchdown in the Super Bowl or catch 100 passes in a season, much of Slow Getting Up touches upon activities outside the games. Jackson details life on an average NFL road trip, playing on the scout team, the incredibly frustrating process of rehabilitating from injuries, and extravagant nights of clubbing. That being said, Jackson does go into some depth about the game when he discusses his larger roles on special teams, where he played on kickoff, kick off return, and punt units for the Broncos. Some of his gridiron observations are also insightful, such as how coaches like Gary Kubiak, who spent his entire career as John Elway's backup, is more concerned with concepts than those with more NFL game experience.
I feel that football players are generally held to lower standards as writers (which makes sense given many of them are pretty poor in the literary department) but Jackson's prose is legitimately enjoyable to read compared to any writer. His writing is peppered with pop culture references and witty turns of phrase. Sometimes his humor can come off as sophomoric and overly scatological, but Slow Getting Up is mostly a pleasure to read. His tone is sarcastic, self-deprecating, and irreverent and it is refreshing to hear a former player be so candid. Jackson even admits to a brief fling with HGH while attempting to recover from an injury. It is hard to think of a better guide (among former NFL players) through Mangini's surreal militaristic training camp, where players watch film cutups of warmups in meetings and are constantly quizzed on team mantras, than the snarky and incredulous Jackson.
Jackson also is able to vividly describe much of his NFL life. This is probably due to the fact that he has essentially been writing this work for several years. Jackson started a journal for the Broncos' website when he played for the Rhein Fire in 2004 and maintained his column for three years. Additionally, Jackson was able to consult with Wall Street Journal writer Stefan Fatsis while the latter attended Broncos' training camp to write A Few Seconds of Panic (a 2000s version of Paper Lion that is worth seeking out for football fans or anyone curious as to the depths of Todd Sauerbrun's craziness). There is a surprising amount of dialogue in Slow Getting Up and while I am guessing most/all of it is based on Jackson's recollections it still demonstrates the robustness of his memories. Jackson also is not bitter about much and does not really have a bone to pick with anyone and he is generally objective and fair-minded. There are no chapters lamenting the physical beatings he endured, rants against the teams that released him, or chastising agents or fans that wronged him. Some may find his portrayals of Adam Schefter (who used to beat a beat writer for the Broncos) and Eric Mangini a bit unfair but who is honestly going to defend those guys? Jackson's riffs on their insufferable personalities were some of the highlights of the book for me.
Most NFL memoirs devote at least some pages to describing players' general weekly routines during training camp and the regular season. What separates Slow Getting Up from the pack is Jackson's perspective and insight into such matters. I understand the comparisons to Ball Four, but Slow Getting Up really struck me as the football cousin of Mark Titus' Don't Put Me in Coach. Both books seem geared towards the Grantland-reading demographic who will catch the Radiohead references and appreciate the anecdotes about players and coaches from years past. I don't think it will be added to the literary pantheon of the best football books ever (not that Jackson ever intended that) but Slow Getting Up is a fast-paced, entertaining and enlightening look at life in the NFL that I thoroughly enjoyed.
So here is the deal... It's about one guy. Nate Jackson, and what he went through. And it's honest. Nate doesn't try to pretend to know what it is like for other guys he just lays out what it was like for him. And yeah, he wasn't Shannon Sharpe - and that's the whole point. This is the story of a guy who actually played but was never celebrated. And it is an absolutely fascinating, honest, and engaging read of a man who dedicated his whole world to football.
For me, I came away with a better understanding of how difficult and competitive the NFL is. What it's like to break into the starting line and the rewards that come with. And more so, what a man will do to keep at that level.
The main takeaway is how Jackson absolutely humanizes the everyday player. You feel for him, even if he comes as a little douchey at times. He tells a backroom story of the NFL that focuses on the players' struggles through the mental/physical side of the game. The NFL definitely comes off as the No Fun League for players.
He doesn't spend much time, at all, talking about superstars. He does talk about Shannon Sharpe, Rod Smith, TO and Plummer a little. He was very high on Plummer, calling him an iconoclast. But most of the time the story focused on his experiences through scout team, NFL Europe, rehab in Birmingham, the NFL and then the UFL. While reading it, the physical brutality of the game and the immaturity of the players, to a lesser extent, really came through.
A couple of things that really stuck out, and some of these are obvious from excerpts released from the book.
Jackson had NO love of Mangini, he bashed him in the last little bit of the book and it's not pretty. You wonder, if you followed Welker's comments on Belichick, if Mangini picked it up from the Hoodie.
Jackson didn't believe that many players in the NFL use HGH. He never saw it being used and never heard talk of it. At the end of the book he tried it to get back into the NFL but got nowhere with it. Not what I expected to read at all.
Weed seems to be the drug of choice among players and the NFL's policy around it came off as absolutely silly. You easily see how players could do what they want when it comes to recreational drugs, and did it too.
Some of the contract stipulations that he had to sign were pretty lowdown. Get hurt and lose a lot of your money? He states that if you're not one of the 5 or 10 marketed guys on the team, you're a nobody and you're going to be treated as such. I never really thought of it like that, but now I can definitely see it.
Jackson really never says what he did once his "career" in the UFL was over. I thought it would have been nice to see how he handled being away from the game, as he alluded to it throughout the book but never directly addressed it.
While he does talk about Shananhan and Plummer in a positive light, he really stays away from the other known names. You would believe that with people's opinion of Cutler he would have a little more to talk about other than the way his ball is different from Plummer's. It was obvious he was not in favor of Cutler taking over for Plummer in the middle of that season, so it was odd not to read more about it.
Jackson did delve into his personal relationships a little but left a lot out. At the end of one section, after a lengthy story, he wrote that he got his gf pregnant but never mentioned it again...
Basically, with the book being 261 pages, I thought there were probably another 100 pages worth of good material that he could have added to it.