I was raised in football country—the state that gave us "Friday Night Lights" and America's team, the Dallas Cowboys. But scandal after scandal, followed by the troubling information about brain injuries for both children and adults who play football, thoroughly soured me on the sport. Sure, I'll play catch with my kids, but I don't let them watch the games. And I've tried to steer them to less controversial sports like soccer, track or the debate team.
I didn't think anything could ever redeem the sullied reputation of football.
But now there's an occasion to celebrate a quarterback, and not for whether he did or did not deflate game balls, but because he's started a book club. Yes, Andrew Luck, an NFL quarterback who currently plays for the Indianapolis Colts, has launched a book club—with actual books that have lots of words, not just pictures. Be still my English major heart!
At first, I thought the headline about Mr. Luck's book club was a joke. When I think of professional athletes, I don't think of literary pursuits. But this is the real deal. It turns out that Mr. Luck has been dubbed the "unofficial librarian of the Colts," because he's been making book recommendations for his teammates for years. The well-read Mr. Luck professes to be a lifelong book lover who wants to share his passion for reading both fiction and nonfiction with others. He's a football player who feels "strongly" about the power of reading.
Why did it take so long for a professional football players to break through the jock stereotype and come out of the closet as an avid, passionate reader? Do they know how many more mothers would endorse the NFL if they could put some of the might behind literacy?
The best thing about Mr. Luck's book club is that it will select books for both adult and young readers. The inaugural books, "The Boys in the Boat" by Daniel James Brown, and "Maniac Magee" by Jerry Spinelli, are popular books with sports themes. He will also interact with his readers through social media and engage in discussions about the book club selections. He's going to be like Oprah, but instead of a day job in a television studio, he plays at stadiums throughout the country.
My family is going to read his books and follow him on social media. Maybe, just maybe, we will even try to catch one of his games.