Friday, November 16, 2012

New York Times, November 16

The 1927 Georgetown Hoyas (Photo / Georgetown University)
FIELD's Tom Flynn contributed an article to the November 16 New York Times on the compelling ups and downs of the Georgetown football team as they draw upon their storied past to buoy their future prospects.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

College Football: Navy Returns to San Francisco

The Navy Midshipmen became the first Division I FBS team to accept a bowl bid when they claimed a spot in San Francisco's Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. The invite came on the heels of a 24-17 win over Florida Atlantic, Navy's fifth straight victory. Freshman Keenan Reynolds ran for 159 yards and a touchdown, and threw two TD strikes to senior Brandon Turner in leading the Mids to a 6-3 record. Florida Atlantic fell to 2-7 on the year.

The game will pit Navy against the sixth-place PAC-12 team. Locally the game could benefit from invites to Stanford (7-2) or Cal (3-7), but barring collapse the Cardinal is headed to a more lucrative game, and Cal will not achieve bowl eligibility in 2012.

The bowl game is played annually at San Francisco's AT&T Park. The Mids faced New Mexico in the 2004 staging of the game when it was known as the Emerald Bowl. On the fifth anniversary of that 2004 game, FIELD's Tom Flynn wrote up an account of a record-breaking drive for the Wall Street Journal.

Game date is Saturday, December 29.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Books: Cinderella Man, the Novel

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(Image / Harper Entertainment)

In 8th grade, I got the okay to read a novelization of the movie Alien for a book report. It was literary free pizza: an easy read, about aliens, and no scholarly (or otherwise) interpretations around it that might prove my resultant book report off the mark. We’d just been required to read A Catcher in the Rye and after turning in my thoughts on the book I was told, essentially, I didn’t ‘get it.’

I was pretty certain I’d 'get' Alien and if I didn’t my teacher sure wouldn’t know the difference. I wasn’t allowed to see the movie, it was rated ‘R’, so instead read the de-profanitized Scholastic Book Club version. It was good, at least to a 13-year-old in 1979 fairly pleased at having slipped one past his teacher. Ever since that book I’ve had a weak spot for finding out if a novelization of a movie can be good, or at a minimum not terrible. A novel based on a movie, rather than the opposite, has a certain ‘Man-Bites-Dog’ appeal. I've found several excellent ones.

Which gets us to Marc Cerasini's Cinderella Man based on the 2005 boxing movie of the same name. While readying for the recent arrival of Hurricane Sandy in Maryland, I shifted some books around in my basement and found the novel, unread, from seven years ago.

The story, most will know, is of Jersey Jim Braddock, a Depression-era boxing champ who, like Cinderella, went from poverty to good fortune despite longish odds. The movie from which the book is derived is terrific, and fortunately for novelizations, there's not much in the way of expectations laid upon them to follow suit if a film is good; they're simply part of the merchandise line.

But to my mild surprise Cerasini's book was good. Aspects were excellent, as the author works in much of the real Braddock's life story, information that a viewer wouldn't gather from seeing the film. He also structures it well, layering in plenty of quotes on Braddock ("He is a great fellow, and he has a great story." - Damon Runyon) and adding a epilogue that tells much of what happened to Braddock after the time period captured by the movie. This was all probably harder to do well than it sounds, and Cerasini deserves credit for the effort. At other times the descriptive sequences read like such, rather than simply fading into the background of a plot line moving down its path.

On the balance, the book is a worthwhile read, as Braddock is a man worth knowing about, and Cerasini's version an entertaining road to meeting him. - TF

Another Western State Adds Varsity Lacrosse

For several years I've contributed lacrosse articles to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).  This week I w...