Research ideas come from the strangest places for me lately. I picked up a copy of Playing for Pizza by Grisham at the library a week or so ago. It was something different. I've read a couple of his books before--The Firm, The Pelican Brief, etc. Courtroom drama isn't my top choice in books, but its interesting. This one is about football. Well, football (American, not soccer) in Italy. The main character is a third-string NFL quarterback who can't find a job in the NFL after a spectacularly horrible championship-losing error.
I'm kind of enjoying it, which is a testament to Grisham's actual writing. Because I am not a football fan. Not even close. I used to attend all of our highschool games, because I was required to as part of the color guard (we performed for all of them). And I'd sit in the stands and cheer when everyone cheered, and occaisionally I would look up long enough to actually see someone doing something good. More often, I'd spend my time chatting with my friends, rating the butts of the various cute team members lined up on the side, making witty quips about "tight ends". I'm sure my father, a die-hard football fan and graduate of University of Nebraska Lincoln (the fans dont' get much more fanatic than that, I've noticed), thought I was hopeless. Line of Scrimage? First and Goal? Down? Who's down? What on earth does that mean?
Around my senior year of high school, I think the constant exposure to football and a few basic lessons from my dad actually did sink in. I'm still not a fan, but I did watch the Rams' superbowl victories (yes, it's been a few years), and I actually understand what's happening on the field these days. I have never played, wouldn't attempt to analyze a play or anything, but at least I know what the teams are doing whe they tackle each other. I have yet to actually watch a pro football game in person, but I think I could follow the action if I did. No promises on the "tight end" jokes, though...those guys wear white spandex for goodness sakes!
So, this post is about research, for my romance-novel in progress. Yes, there really is a connection here. One of my secondary characters I've been thinking of as a sort of overgrown frat boy. Not so much a horrible binge-drinking, womanizing type of frat boy, but more of a sports-loving have-a-beer-with-the-guys kind of frat boy. He's not in a lot of scenes, but he's still kind of important to the heroine's conflict. Reading all of the football lingo has given me a definite idea of how to make his character work better.
I feel like I should close this post with a witty football -phrase, like I'm 4th and goal, or that I'm going to punt. But really, it's more like 2nd and 8 on my own 40 yard line. In other words, I'm making steady forward progress, but I have a long way to go.