Dream Season: A Professor Joins America's Oldest Semi-Pro Football Team

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9780802142184: Dream Season: A Professor Joins America's Oldest Semi-Pro Football Team

At age thirty, Bob Cowser, Jr., is a happy husband, father, and English professor in upstate New York. But he senses that something is missing from the good life. He finds himself craving the exhilaration he felt as a young man growing up in sports-crazy Tennessee when he took the field for high school football games. In what is every Monday morning quarterback’s fantasy, Bob Cowser, Jr., revisits his glory days by joining the Watertown Red & Black, the country’s oldest semi-professional football team. Cowser drives the lonely sixty miles to try out for the team in Watertown, a former mill town of soldiers, corrections officers, and blue-collar workers that is a far cry from his leafy campus. As a rookie and an outsider, Cowser must work hard to earn the respect of these hard-edged men, some of them local celebrities. He must also find a way to balance the rigors of practice and game play with the demands of fatherhood, as his wife struggles to cope with a one-year-old son, a career, and a husband on the road. Can Cowser find a way to make the fulfillment of his childhood dream fit into real life as an adult?

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From the Inside Flap:

"Bob Cowser, Jr. is not so much an everyman, here, as a slightly retro every- boy who happens to able to write extremely well. Dream Season is such a sweet, refreshing, revelatory and savvy little book—about football. It ought to be essential reading for every male with gridiron longings, and every female enduring long and patiently from the sidelines." —Richard Ford

"The professor is a madman. I wouldn’t have had the nerve—or knees—to write this book. Or the vocabulary. Thank goodness, then, for Bob Cowser, Jr., a rarity who can write and play defensive line, the former more skillfully than the latter." —Steve Rushin, senior writer for Sports Illustrated

"Dream Season is both very funny and achingly honest. Cowser manages to come across as, simultaneously, Everyman and a genuine oddball. Male readers will identify; female readers will likely shake their heads in rueful amusement." —Phillip Lopate

"Basketball, I can understand. Baseball, if you still have a good eye. But football? Real tackle football? Why would anyone, age thirty, with a wife and a child and job and his sanity go back to playing football for fun? But after reading Bob Cowser, Jr.'s bittersweet memoir, I can understand. He writes with such an engaging affection for the game and the team, that I'm even envious that he could love football that much." —Frank Deford

"Dream Season sparkles with a straightforward, genuine clarity. It is real, vivid, sensitive, accessible, warm, brutal, and wholly consuming." —Lee Gutkind, author of Forever Fat: Essays by the Godfather

"Dream Season is a fascinating look at the split in many a contemporary American male’s psyche. A terrific book, engaging from the outset, and most deserving of a place beside such classics as George Plimpton’s Paper Lion and Frederick Exley’s A Fan’s Notes." —Robin Hemley, author of Invented Eden

From Publishers Weekly:

Cowser, an English professor at Saint Lawrence University in upstate New York, offers an affable, unassuming account of his recent experience in his early 30s of playing for the Watertown Red & Black. Aside from describing the physical shock of returning to such a punishing sport (he's been away from it since high school), Cowser also depicts the culture clash as an academic strives to fit in with and earn the respect of a group of blue-collar workers. He tells his story with honesty and humility. For instance, when Cowser scores a huge play, he doesn't receive or even fantasize about the adulation of his teammates. He gets a thump on the pads, a nod and the hint that it's time to move on and get back to the line for another snap. That's enough to make Cowser's style endearing, even if the book doesn't necessarily draw readers into his adventure. After all, there's just so much that guy-to-guy camaraderie and a loosely predictable sports theme can do to be engaging. Though the book does boast a quietly triumphant ending, it's much like the level of football it chronicles: it means a lot to the people who are playing, but lacks the pull to excite a larger audience.
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