Power Plays: Politics, Football, and Other Blood Sports

By John M. Barry | Go to book overview

GAME’S OVER

Football involves a different kind of power. Physical force, mental toughness and resilience, matched against that of an opponent. But the outside world intervenes here, too. Both the game and the world can just wear one down. Or they can create real tragedy.

Unlike most of the rest of the book, I was directly involved in what I write about here. The first story in this section originally appeared in Sports Illustrated. I was living in Rhode Island then, and had decided to do a story about a game at every level of football—youth, high school, small college, major college, and the NFL—and about what remained the same and what changed as the game went from level to level. I never wrote that story. When I watched the Patriots play, their quarterback got hurt. It started me thinking about injuries. I wrote the story included here. It was the first piece I ever sold to a national magazine.

Normally I write slowly, and labor over every word. But both this story and “Jimmy” earlier in the book were written in one sitting of fifteen or twenty minutes each. Apparently I was just ready to write them.

The second piece originally ran in the Washington Post Magazine. At the time I didn’t think it had anything to do with Washington. But now in the context of this book, and in the context of the final piece in this section, I think maybe it did.

-55-

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Power Plays: Politics, Football, and Other Blood Sports
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Home 1
  • Flexible Blocking Patterns 3
  • Jimmy 11
  • Washington the Players 19
  • The Making of a Politician I 21
  • The Making of a Politican II 35
  • The Media 45
  • Game’s over 55
  • It’s All a Part of the Game 57
  • No More Play 65
  • Regrets 80
  • Washington Wright’s Play 83
  • The Floor 85
  • Peace 93
  • The Vote 99
  • Washington Gingrich’s Play 131
  • The outside Game 133
  • The Olympians 151
  • Renaldo Nehemiah 153
  • Linda Dragan 158
  • Michael Storm 163
  • Mark Cameron 168
  • Postscript 175
  • The Fall 177
  • The Trial 179
  • Epilogue 203
  • Index 211
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