One of the Bookworms (guess which) recently finished Nicholas Dawidoff’s Collision Low Crossers. Here’s a brief review.
The author, who writes for about every periodical a writer would want to write for, received access to the New York Jets during the 2011-12 season. When I say “received access” I mean “It’s hard to imagine they ever let him in that deep and I imagine no one will ever get a chance like this again.”
Yes, this is very much a football book, specifically an NFL book. Despite Dawidoff salting his presentation with literary references the book never departs from the New York Jet office complex in Florham Park, NJ. The title of the book itself is a a bit of inside-football terminology that Dawidoff found a particular affinity for and there is plenty of “press coverage” and running Dime Spike One Vegas on 3rd and long.
What drew me in to the narrative, and why I said this book is for the hardcore fan wasn’t actually the football. The hardcore fan who will enjoy Collision is the fan of intriguing characters.
Antonio Cromartie, infamous publicly for his libidinous excess which resulted in his ability to remember all of his children’s names when asked on camera, is revealed to be the product of a broken home – the scars of which leave him with such deep set insecurity he cannot take full advantage of his peak human athleticism.
Brian Smith, aka Smitty, the Quality Control coach who functions in some ways as the coaching staff’s mascot and court jester, who is compelled mid-season to take on the burden of providing long term care for his fater.
Mike Pettine, the Defensive Coordinator nurtured at the knee of a legendary H.S. football coach father who develops the strongest unit on the team – and has to prevent his stellar defense from beginning to view the members of the weaker offensive unit as an enemy within their own team.
Rex Ryan, the bigger than life head coach – a born leader of men whose instinctual understanding of defensive football in unrivaled yet who cannot see the autonomy he grants to his staff prevents them from accessing his prodigious knowledge.
So who should read this? Sports fans, for sure. NFL fans, certainly. But most of all those who find human interest stories grounded unshakably in human interest stories compelling, the ones who gravitate to the characters that real life can produce in a way that trumps even the greatest of writers. Those are the ones who will enjoy Collision Low Crossers the most.