Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Ah. Football. The season has just started, yet, it seems to take over the airwaves. Saturdays are devoted to college football (in our house, University of Michigan--go blue!), while Sundays and Mondays feature NFL football.

I didn't always love football. Oh, I loved going to games in high school, but that was because all my friends were there and there was a concession stand--not to mention cute boys in football uniforms. Now, I watch football with my husband, and I can honestly say I love it!

Last night, while we were watching an NFL game, I was struck at how intense these guys play. It fascinated me. Maybe it's because I dreaded team sports as a kid, or because I am in awe of the sheer force of will that permeates the players, but I couldn't help analyzing what prompts men to want to play football for a living.

The obvious reasons: fame, money, talent, love of the game, entered my head immediately. But why are some people drawn to a team work atmosphere, while others crave the self-employed solitary road? The lifestyle of a football player differs immensely from the lifestyle of a romance novelist.

I know what you're thinking. Duh. Playing football is different than writing romance novels? Gee, brilliant observation!

Smarty pants.

Back to my train of thought. Football players rely on other people to meet their goals. Each player is assigned a certain position on the team and, for the most part, that is the only position that person will play. One player might be the best player in history, but if his teammate fumbles the ball and subsequently loses the game, the whole team loses. Sure, individuals shine in the sport, but individuals can't go to the Superbowl--only teams can. Because of this, players feel pressure to not let their teammates down. They train together every day. Travel together every week. Share the wins, share the losses.

Writers, not just romance novelists, have a very different working environment. Writers can write whatever they want. They aren't pigeonholed into one position, but, like football players, it can be in their best interests to concentrate on one position, one genre. Writers rely on themselves to produce good work. Yes, other people are important to their job, namely agents, and editors, but writers only have themselves to blame if their book falls flat. A writer gets all the glory when published, but also feels all of the pain when rejected.

Can you imagine if 12 people wrote a book? It would be a gibberish mess! But 12 football players work smoothly to produce the goal. I can't speak for other writers, but the thought of handing over my manuscript to let 11 other people write it to completion makes me feel slightly nauseous. I have the luxury of being in complete control of my books; football players cannot be control freaks--they have to rely on other people.

And physically, football and writing are at opposite ends of the spectrum, but mentally, they are similar. Just as football players do everything in their power to get that first down, so writers push themselves to write another chapter. Grit and determination prevail in both.

I'm sure most football players have no desire to sit and write books everyday, just as I have no desire to physically push myself to the limits and get tackled on a daily basis. But I'll continue to watch them and be in awe of what they do. After all, we're both in the entertainment business--hey, we're more similar than I thought.

Enjoy your week!

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