The NFL season has come and gone, and I am happy to say that I enjoyed this one more than any other in the past. It was not only because I cheered on a new team, but it was because I understood and appreciated the game so much more than I did before. For that, I can at least partially thank A Few Seconds of Panic by Stefan Fatsis.
You can practically hear a hamstring rip
Fatsis got the opportunity to go through training camp and the preseason with the Denver Broncos. While he may not have lined up behind center like George Plimpton in Paper Lion, Fatsis certainly managed to give an in-depth and real account of what it means to play professional football.
Given his background in soccer as a youth, Fatsis decided to continue down the kicking route, lining up field goals under the tutelage of Jason Elam. But just getting there was tough enough. Apparently, kicking a football isn’t as easy as it appears. And neither is punting. Or even merely dropping the ball down to punt. Stefan’s journey is almost overwhelming when he describes how much there is to interpret, understand, and execute when it comes to the simplest of tasks on the field.
But this book is about much more than just kicking. Everyone and everything is seemingly connected on the field and in the locker room. You follow the trials and tribulations of fledgling backup quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt, the comeback of a veteran lineman like Adam Meadows, or the never ending struggle to keep up with Demetrin Veal.
Fatsis goes even further to shed light on head coach Mike Shanahan, who was known to run one of the most strict regimes in the entire sport. From the playbook to the boardroom, no stone is left unturned.
The ultimate goal of the experience seemed to have been to kick a field goal in a live environment. With the rush coming and nerves frayed. While Mr. Fatsis may have felt panicked in this very moment, his documentation of the experience, through hilarious anecdotes and intricate detail, will leave you a smarter, more sophisticated, and more appreciative of a fan.