We are all ready for some football. But how about those new to the game, from kids to new immigrants who think that football is…gasp…soccer. There is a new book for them, and for all those just yearning for some additional info and watercooler talk as the Jets and Giants get started in Sunday.
It is called How to Speak Football, and it is quickly becoming the glossary and the etiquette book for all things around the gridiron. More than 75 illustrations by award-winning Ross MacDonald complement the copy and the illustrations highlight some of the trivia big and small that every football fan will love. Want to know about how nicknames came about? It’s there. The AAFC? There is info. Why is a football called a pigskin? We have that too, and on and on, not just for NFL fans, but for those of college as well.
We caught up with author Sally Cook to find out a little more about how the book, the latest in a series of “How To” books around sports, came about and why.
What was the biggest surprise in writing the book?
My two brothers played high school football, but I didn’t have a clue that there were so many fascinating slang terms in football. Some of my favorites are: dink and dunk: a short passing game; pancake: a forceful block that takes an opposing lineman out of play; and zebra, the referee or other members of the officiating crew.
Who is the audience?
It’s for the novice who has no clue about the game as well as the aficionado who wants to learn more terms and fun back-stories. Men and women of all ages are buying the book.
If I’m a Jets of Giants fan, what’s the one thing I would love and learn about the content?
It all started in New Jersey! In 1869 Rutgers and Princeton played the first intercollegiate game, playing a soccer style game with rules adapted from the London Football Association.
Compared to the other books, is this one more difficult or easier to pull together?
Each book had their own challenges. In baseball there are so many terms that it was difficult to narrow it down to only 125. With golf, I wasn’t as familiar with the sport so I had to rely on and talk to more experts. Football was challenging because I was not familiar with some of the subtleties of the rules of the game.
What’s the one thing that you want readers to take away from this book?
I’d like for readers to feel more comfortable conversing in “football speak” so that when they attend a game they have more of an understanding, which makes it more fun to watch. When an announcer uses some of these terms, they will understand what’s happening on the field.