Stefan Fatsis wants it to be clear: He is the anti-George Plimpton. Although they both wrote first-person accounts of themselves as writers trying to play in the NFL, Fatsis notes that for his book, A Few Seconds of Panic, he worked his balls off to make it as a place kicker for the Denver Broncos. Plimpton, on the other hand, wrote his literary journalism classic Paper Lion about himself as an everyman with essentially no preparation playing as the last-string quarterback for the Detroit Lions. Fatsis, a 43-year-old Wall Street Journal sports reporter, decided that if he was going to write about the inner workings of the NFL from within the walls of the locker room, he was going to make a serious go at it as a player. With his tiny bit of kicking talent and full access to players, management, and coaches, Fatsis was able to put together a complete portrait of the modern NFL franchise from the owner to the equipment manager. A Few Seconds of Panic offers football fans and narrative journalism junkies alike an absorbing story of how a football team works when nobody is looking, and how a writer got to be an NFL player, even if only for a few short months.
Tue., July 15, 7:30 p.m., 2008