I don’t want to jinx things, but man, ’09 is looking good. The Eagles beat the Giants! They’re going to the NFC Championship for the fifth time in eight years! And they didn’t even win 10 games in the regular season. This is a true Rocky saga if ever there was one. The veteran players considered down and out, rallying around their beleaguered coach and quarterback, proving they can go the distance…yadda, yadda.
Now, I’m sure a lot of my blog readers are not Eagles fans. And since most of you are female, I’m betting many don’t even like football. It’s okay to admit it. Football historically has a male-dominated fan base, at least until its players don spray tan and glitter and join the cast of Dancing with the Stars.
But I’m here to prove to you all why football is awesome, and how it’s very much like writing. Seriously.
My list of Top 10 List of Things Writers and Football Players Have in Common:
1. They both spend a lot of time banging their heads against things. Sure the head trauma of novelists is mostly, hopefully, metaphorical (except for those rare occasions when we do find ourselves literally banging our head against our keyboards—sad, sad days). But let face it—both hurt. You try rewriting a manuscript from scratch—it can make a defensive lineman seem preferable.
2. Both are hard careers to break into. Not everyone gets drafted, and not every manuscript gets agented (or sold). But hey, if you do make it to the NFL or a book shelf, take some time to recognize that even if you never make the Pro Bowl, you still accomplished something pretty damn cool.
3. Both are more comfortable in sneakers. Could you imagine playing football in heels? Yeah, no. And I can’t imagine writing in heels either. We’re lucky if we get out of our pajamas.
4. Both feature a colorful cast of characters. You’ve got your villains (ahem, T.O.), your heroes (McNabb), your nice guys (Westbrook), your love interests (Jessica Simpson or that Girls Next Door Playmate engaged to Eagle’s Hank Basket), and your wise elders (Dawkins and Reid). Only most football players don’t talk to me while I’m sleeping, at least not yet. And that would probably freak my husband out if they did.
5. Neither one can rely on the trick plays alone. Sure a fake punt or double reverse is nice once in awhile, but it’s the steady run game and screen passes that get you into the playoffs. Same is true for your novel. An occasional twist and turn gives spark to any manuscript, but no one wants aliens suddenly landing in Chapter 6. Keep it simple.
6. Both require a lot of pep talks. Writers really should have a locker room. Because wouldn’t it be nice to get a passion-filled, inspirational speech before you have to write that big scene? “Nobody comes into our house and pushes us around!!”
7. Both include a lot of bad hair, and I’m not only talking about the helmet hair. Have you seen some of the mullets, beards and mustaches these players are sporting? They look like writers on a deadline (minus the facial hair if you’re a girl, at least I hope).
8. Both need to rally after halftime. It doesn’t matter how good your team is the first two quarters, you need to control the whole game. And likewise, you can pump out a sloppy mess of a rough draft as long as you focus on the revisions. Because who couldn’t use a fourth quarter surge when closing in on that final manuscript polish?
9. Both require a lot of practice. Obvious, but true. Your first novel is rarely your best, neither is your rookie season. They’re both hopefully jumping off points to launch a lengthy career.
10. Both have fans. Though I really think more authors should be carried out of book signings on people’s shoulders. Why don’t all of us get together once a year and do this for each other? We can set a schedule. Sunday afternoons, anyone?