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Jenn: Rotten Orange

Apologies for dropping off the face of Earth. My first book, a textbook called “Natural Disasters and Catastrophes” is done (in quotes) and I’m now going through the mind numbing editorial process of getting all the figures, figure legends, tables, appendices, copyright permissions, etc. in order.  Though it is time intensive, it is so boring and dreadful, I haven’t wanted to live through it the first time, let alone relive it on this page and bore Miranda’s readers to tears.

But now I’m in the process of pitching another book, tentatively titled “Rotten Orange” about the Syracuse University Football Program.  I know NOTHING about football and I despise spectator sports, but I tutored the football players at SU for five years and in that time I was intimately acquainted with what the guys went through.  It was not fair that they were asked to do two very difficult full time jobs (athlete, scholar), accept no compensation, and handle fame and stardom like few other schools (Syracuse has no pro teams in the NFL or NBA or whatever, so the entire community was pro college sports like crazy).  I also saw what the coaches and academic support staff went through.

I’m mulling over how this book will go, but my rough idea is it will be marketed as the seedy underbelly of the SU program, but end up being a feel-good story about triumphing in the face of adversity, where the guys are now (many went pro, more did not), and reflecting on what a precious, special time it was for them. I’ll include race relations, politics of NCAA, romance, academics, and will have help with the sports side of things from my dear friend Dave who was an Earth Sciences major and starting defensive tackle.

I also plan to interview many of the guys, who are eager to have their stories told. But I’m going to take a sort of mother hen approach. My friends used to call my apartment “The Jenn Rivers Home for Wayward Football Players” because they would come to my apartment to feel safe and to not be treated based on their performance on the field (I gave then, and still give now, a flying eff about football games), just on the quality of their character and their academic performance.

I know this sounds scatterbrained right now, and it is. But I’m so excited to have another project, and would love to hear any feedback on this blog on what kinds of things you all think people would be interested in as I put the proposal together and start shopping it around. My friend at Wiley also said it would be a good idea to submit a few articles to newspapers and include them in a proposal. And then maybe flesh out the articles into chapters.

I hope you all have been thriving this past year, I’ve lurked and followed your creative efforts often.  I’m most impressed by the collective efforts of Creative Construction’s participants!

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. jenn, congratulations on finishing one project and having an excellent start on a new one! i would definitely read what you just encapsulated! sounds fascinating. you could conceivably take down a whole city for not compensating the players for their expectations of them.

    September 10, 2009
  2. Sounds awesome, Jenn! What I want to know is: how do you make time for this kind of stuff what with the whole teaching, running, dog walking, single-parenting gig? I mean seriously, how do you do it?

    And while your book sounds like it would have a lot of appeal to publishers, if it never sees the light of day — well then, I guess you will just have had a great excuse to hang around with hot football players while conducting intimate interviews 😉

    September 10, 2009
  3. Kristine #

    Congratulations on your progress, Jenn! Sounds like you’ve got some great ideas, and I wish you the best in meeting your goals. Keep up the good work!

    September 11, 2009
  4. welcome back jenn. interesting premise for your book. i worked in sports information at florida state for two years so i’m well acquianted with college sports. you said these guys got no compensation. did they not get a scholarship?

    September 14, 2009
  5. caseycairo #

    Thanks, all, for your comments. Cathy: Therein lies the rub. I would like to give an absolutely honest account, but there are two things working against me here – the NCAA and the rabid SU fans. Since Syracuse doesn’t have a hometown pro league of any kind, the people in that region are die hard fans. I could get in lots of trouble, and is quite a delicate balancing act I’ll have to pull off. I approach the project with much trepidation and many reservations. We’ll see!

    Miranda: you called me on my secret plan. I don’t every intend on publishing it, I just want to surround myself with beautiful ex football players who used to worship me because I got them through the academic side of the experience and helped them to earn a degree. Some of them still tell me that their degrees should show my name instead of theirs. And r.e finding the time, you have beaten the “no TV” drum yourself. I don’t own a television. Also I multitask much of the day (example: I run to work, pushing my daughter in a baby jogger, and we bring books that I read to her for part of the way, thus accomplishing the commute to work, a total of 1.5 hours high intensity exercise, bonding with my daughter, and meditation/problem solving in the professional realm on the way in, and the personal realm on the run home). I also count myself lucky that I have a housecleaner, a dog walker, and a landscaper to do all the stuff I should be doing at home, though I often feel like a failure and a sham for doing so.

    Kelly: yes, sorry, they all did receive a 5 year scholarship (except the walk-ons) but as you know, they are not allowed by NCAA rules to receive any other compensation. Which makes it quite curious that many of them were from impoverished backgrounds yet were cruising the streets in Land Rovers, which goes back to my comments to Cathy about it being a verrry delicate subject. Also what to say about steroids? Two friends have recommended that I either publish it as an account of a fictitious or mystery school, or that I use a pen name to protect myself.

    Thanks all for the comments, and I look forward to following all of your work as well!

    September 17, 2009

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