Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cody Wardell- Brian Piccolo: A Short Season by Jeannie Morris (book blog #4)

Cody Wardell
Composition 105

Brian Piccolo: A Short Season
by Jeannie Morris
Copyright 1971 by Rand McNally & Company
154  pages

“What does a football player do who can’t play football? I think I fulfilled my real ambition in pro football. My idea of success is to be established, to know that I could play for almost anybody, to have the respect around the league of other players and coaches. This I felt I had accomplished. Of course, I didn’t plan on having it end this soon.” (pg. 128)

Brian Piccolo was a man who loved the game of football simply because he just flat out loved playing. From his experience, he learned that most professional football players play the game because it’s their job. Brian Piccolo once said that he just loved playing the game and he would play even if he didn't get paid. Getting paid on top of playing was just a bonus to him. Brian Piccolo was born a football player. For many years, he would compete with Gale Sayers for the starting position as the Chicago Bears running back. He never gave up until his sickness came to the point where he couldn't play the game anymore. He gave all that he could on the football field. Brian Piccolo is a true inspiration and always had determination no matter what obstacle of the game he was faced with.
Being a big sports fan and me already knowing the story of Brian Piccolo I decided to read this biography, written by the wife of one of his former teammates. I already knew the outcome of what happened to Brian Piccolo but wanted to know the whole story behind it. Piccolo played for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League for four seasons in the late 1960s until he died of an aggressive form of testicular cancer at the age of 26, leaving behind a wife and three daughters. His story is a story of hope, sadness and even triumph. The tragedy takes place as he does pass away in the end, he lived a regret free life. Like I said before, Piccolo once said, in the book, that he would have played professional football for free but would never have told the team owner. He loved football that much but he was no fool. This love spilled over into everything in his life. His family, his passion for his Italian heritage, food, friends. Life in general.
One of the greatest attributes of Brian Piccolo was that he refused to feel sorry for himself and would deny anyone who knew him that same opportunity because he believed this was just some unlucky sickness that he had. The book is very medical in its descriptions of his diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. The football side of his life is secondary to the struggle he went through for the seven months he endured the cancer. This story is a heartfelt journey of a man's struggle to deal with the toughest challenge ever given to him in his short yet remarkable life and how he chose to deal with it with grace and dignity and never pitied himself.
This book was turned into a movie of his life called, " Brian's Song " but deals more with his relationship with former teammate Gale Sayers and its effects on multiple levels. Where the book is more about the personal life of Brian Piccolo. The book is a more in depth description of his life. This book was a true inspiration from me. I rate this book an 8 out of 10. I really enjoyed this book. I recommend reading the book to any sports fan or a person who wants to read an inspirational story. If you have already had the book or even if you haven’t, I also recommend watching the movie, “Brian’s Song”.

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