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A Sonnet (or two) to the Packers by Sarah Wendell, poetess,...

Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books is from Pittsburgh. Apparently it’s the law that if you were born and raised in Pittsburgh, you must be a Steeler fan. I understand this. I was raised in Wisconsin. In Wisconsin, there are two laws. First, you must cheer for the Packers and second, you must always have a beer at the ready. Cheese is optional despite the moniker of cheesehead thrown onto the Wisconsinites, although if you’ve never eaten dairy fresh cheese curds, you really haven’t lived. For those unfamiliar with dairy fresh cheese curds, these cheese curds are wet and should squeak as you bite into them. No lie. Squeakiness is the key.

When Pittsburgh and Green Bay were headed for the Super Bowl, Sarah suggested a friendly wager. I repeatedly said that I was fine with this so long as I didn’t have to shave my head if I lost. You may have heard. The Packers won and thus, here is Sarah’s (AWESOME) payment in our wager: a sonnet written to the winning team:

The Steelers’ Superbowl has lost its drive
The underdog has failed to show its teeth
A score of thirty-one to twenty-five
Gives many happy cheeseheads much relief*

A Pittsburgh Steelers fan I’ve always been
Bound to the team at birth and childhood
But even I admit, with loser’s pain,
The game produced the result that it should.

The Steelers lineup has some fine heroes
And Polamalu’s Twitchange eases sting
Of knowing number seven’s a zero
Ben played like he did not deserve a ring.**

Packers bring home Lombardi and Renoir
I toast your team of most deserving stars.

*unless you are lactose intolerant, in which case, the opposite is true.
** and he didn’t.

The Green Bay Packers win twas expected
So many fine heroes to make one stare
I speak honestly as one dejected,
The only place they fall short is the hair.

Clay Matthews has the flowing golden locks
But Polamalu’s hair would be my choice.
Yet Packers’ D was perfect in their blocks
And Rodgers’ play gave reasons to rejoice.

I understand their popularity
Packer appeal’s not mystery or bunk:
They’ve shareholders, fiscal transparency –
And Rodgers never texts pics of his junk.

Should hair and heart and drive create that play
I’m glad Lombardi heads home to Green Bay.

Honestly? I felt more nervous as the game approached. Everyone was picking the Packers. I HATE being the favorite. Hate it. Packers were doomed. They weren’t. Apparently they were the team of destiny and truly if there was ever a guy that deserved a Super Bowl, it would be Donald Driver.

Driver left the game after the first half but he’s been a favorite of mine since he first started playing for the Packers. He’s an averaged sized receiver at a little under six feet and weighing in around 190 pounds. He was drafted in the 7th round, the 213th pick in 1999. Like many young men in the NFL, Donald came from difficult background. As a teen, he lived out of the back of a Uhaul and on the street at times, his family evicted from their home due to unpaid debts. He promised his younger brothers that he would pull them out of poverty and when given the opportunity to play in the NFL, Driver fulfilled that promise by becoming one of the best receivers on the Packers team and now one of the best receivers on a World Champion team.

Driver isn’t a flashy player. He isn’t a deep threat like Jennings but he’s a steady receiver with great hands and a enormous personal drive to succeed. I’ll never forget the first in depth interview I saw of Driver, choked up about his past, his familial obligations, and his big big heart. Driver has never forgotten where he came from and gives generously of his time and his pocketbook to help homeless mothers all over provide a safe environment for their children. He’s a true hero and a man I take pleasure in cheering for every Sunday. Congratulations, Donald. Congratulations, Packers.

I think one of the reasons I love sports books so much is partly why people like historical Regency books so much. There is built in drama and innate tension to the setup. The characters in these books are larger than life. These pro athletes are gifted and can do things most normal individuals cannot. It is a game, but it takes serious dedication, mental toughness, and well, true grit to succeed. Isn’t that some of what we look for in romance heroes – that larger than life aspect; that unwavering determination to complete a task?

One of my favorite sports books of all times is Deirdre Martin’s Body Check. Martin has a new book out this month, Icebreaker, that brings us back to the hockey arena for the first time in several books. In both books, Martin brings us inside the locker room, a foreign place if there ever was one. Sure, I’ve seen locker room scenes having the NFL channel but I doubt I’ll ever really know what goes on inside there so Martin’s creations are kind of the next best thing for a fan like me (and I’m not even a hockey fan!).

I’m always looking for a good sports romance. I enjoy the SEP series and the Rachel Gibson books (her heroes have become less assholic but I even enjoyed Sam in the May release Any Man of Mine and he really is a jerk). And, of course, how can I mention sports books without bringing up Mick Riley of Jaci Burton’s The Perfect Play.

My affection for the athlete hero runs deep. I look for three things in a sports book: a knowledge of the game expressed through the story; a believable, driven hero; and strong heroine to temper the hero. If I can get at least one locker room (inspirational speech included), I am a happy girl.

Do you love/hate the sports romance? Have any recommendations for me? Surprised at how well Sarah can write a sonnet? Particularly about the Packers? I mean, the inclusion of Polamalu should get points in and of itself. (and it is so true, Polamalu’s hair is so much better than Matthews).

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Barbara
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 04:34:02

    When we lost Woodson and Driver in the first half, I thought I was going to be ill. When I saw Donald Driver with tears on his face sitting on the bench on the sideline after the game ended, I had some of my own. Ditto to all that you said, Jane.

    Um, can’t offer a single thing on the book recs. I’ve never found a decent sports romance beyond what you’ve recommended. They all end up annoying me by getting it all wrong.

    Nice poem, Sarah – could have used more cheese and whine. :)

  2. Marsha
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 06:12:25

    Rooting for the Steelers is part of my heritage (although I’ve never lived in Pittsburgh, no one can remember a time when my paternal line did not, plus being a Bills or Eagles fan – my other two natural choices – is thankless) but I am not sorry that Green Bay won. Excellent game! I enjoyed every minute.

    As for books, I wouldn’t have thought that I’d have enjoyed sports-related settings, although I’ve read several now that have been recommended here and liked them. Interestingly, if I like a book enough I forget that I don’t actually enjoy the sport involved. There is a series of NASCAResque books that I’ve really enjoyed despite really, really, really not relishing racing in real life. I’ve not read a book with a football hero but am looking forward to “The Perfect Play”.

  3. jennifer armintrout
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 06:59:45

    I enjoy sports romance if the sport is represented correctly, and it’s a sport I enjoy. Also, it has to be a team sport, because I can’t imagine it would be much fun to read about a sports hero who was a ski jumper or a runner or something solitary. As much as I like watching pole vaulters do their thing, I’m not sure my interest would be sustained by a book with extended scenes of pole vaulting. And the team interaction gives you more insight into the hero’s inner workings.

  4. jennifer armintrout
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 07:00:44

    Oh, and even though NASCAR bores the pants off me, I really like those Harlequin NASCAR books.

  5. Sarah
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 07:17:01

    Seriously, I was screaming at the tv watching both Packers and Steelers players get hurt every time they hit the ground. It was like the turf was velcro trying to rip their arms off. Seeing Woodson cringe in pain when cheering his team? That ain’t right. Between the seats debacle and the absolute terror that was the field surface, this was an embarrassment to Jerry Jones and the Cowboys. Holy Hell.

    ALL THE MORE REASON why Superbowls should be played at every venue, INCLUDING Pittsburgh and Green Bay. OH that would be AWESOME.

    Glad you liked my sonnets. :)

  6. Shannon Stacey
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 07:34:19

    Bravo, Sarah, most bodacious of bards!

    When it comes to sports romances, one thing that’s important to me is that professional athletes be professional athletes. Sometimes they’re portrayed as elite athletes who, between big games, do nothing but hang out playing pool, drinking and getting laid.

    The few hours we see them on TV may be an important part of their job, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Between training and game prep and charity events and media obligations, their lives are intense and require a huge amount of dedication and focus.

    Not saying they don’t hang out playing pool, drinking and getting laid, but I like when an author respects the athletes and the dedication and sacrifices that get them to the top.

  7. Joanne
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 07:45:21

    I’m not surprised that Sarah can write a sonnet I’m just surprised she could write such a good one while she had a sad.

    I was and am mad at Mr too-cool-to-work-out-harder-too-stupid-to-keep-his-image-clean-too-skanky-to-be-taken-seriously-ever-again Roethlisberger. I applaud the Packers, cheese and all.

    Now that I know more about Donald Driver I heart him. It’s so romance book to think of all those young men who had nothing, in terms of financial security, succeed in life and then use that position to help others.

    There really is something so sexy about some men slipping into warrior mode like some women slip into stilettos. I know it’s arcane but I like the image enough that it carries over into my romance reading very easily. Except baseball, which I love but doesn’t seem to convert to hero stories, for me.

    I’ve read the Martin books but now I’m going to try the Gibson story.

    Good sports, both Jane & Sarah.

  8. Jaci Burton
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 07:59:22

    Epic sonnet from Sarah.

    And such a great win for the Packers. They gutted it out after the injuries and totally deserved the win.

    It was an awesome game to watch. We’re not Packers or Steelers fans at our house, but we enjoyed the game immensely and were horrified by the Pack’s injuries. We thought for sure it was over when Woodson went down, because defense was so critical. It shows you what a team can do when they have the drive to win.

    I love sports romances of all kinds. Love Deirdre Martin’s hockey series and Erin McCarthy’s NASCAR series, especially.

    And thanks for the plug for The Perfect Play. :-)

  9. molly O'Keefe
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 07:59:59

    Our house is divided – die hard Pack and die hard Steel Curtain. This was a very fun game. And I agree (though had high high hopes for that last possession) that Rothlisberger never played like he deserved it. The Driver story is a heartbreaker and I LOVE that Clay Matthews father is on the sidelines coaching him – the “it’s time, it’s time” moment? Oh, my heart. I actually perfer Matthews’ hair – he looks like a Vivking Berserker.
    I also think the Rodgers story is a good one, sitting in the shadows of Favre who ended up being a total asshat despite my love – only to get his chance and then have it spoiled (or highlighted, depending on how you look at it) with the beginning of the Favre crapola. Anyway – it was a great game.

    I’m from northern Illinios where we get our wisconsin cheese curds fresh. But now I live in Canada where we take those curds, put them on steaming hot fries and then cover it in gravey – Poutine. It is astonishingly good.

    Small plug if I may – I have a sports romance coming out from Bantam…Hockey hero with post-concussion syndrome facing the end of his career.

  10. Estara
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 08:02:14

    Congratulations to everyone in the US, but every time someone says World Champions with regard to American football and baseball, I wonder where the contenders of the rest of the world are XD.

  11. LG
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 08:08:04

    In real life, I don’t like watching sports. It’s hit or miss, whether I’ll enjoy a sports romance, but I inhale sports manga, particularly if the manga focuses on a team sport. I know that the thing that draws me to sports manga is the teamwork and really intense emotions during the games. With sports romance, I think I’ve read too many where the hero has a tad too big of an ego.

  12. Keira Soleore
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 08:31:10

    Superbly done, Sarah. Brava!!

    Yes, what was up with the long hair? I would think as a professional sports player, it would only be a hassle to keep up.

  13. Keira Soleore
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 08:33:21

    Estara asked: “but every time someone says World Champions with regard to American football and baseball, I wonder where the contenders of the rest of the world are”

    America is the world, didn’tcha know? :) Atleast now, baseball is being played in more countries than just one.

  14. Jen X
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 08:35:13

    I am a fan of Rachel Gibson’s hockey series. What usually gets me is the vulnerability of the hero and the crossroads he must overcome as he deals with his sports identity.

  15. RebeccaJ
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 08:40:22

    Go, Stillers! I’m sorry but every time I saw Clay Matthews during that game, I wanted to hand him a BIG BOTTLE of shampoo!

  16. Keishon
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 08:49:42

    I’m always open for good sports romances and I don’t think I’ve read Body Check so I’ll go grab that one. Not sure I’d classify this one as a sports romance even though it has romance IN IT and I know Jane has read it already but I am mentioning it anyway, One on One by Tabitha King. It’s OOP but shouldn’t be hard to find but it features basketball with two unlikely teens who fall for each other.

  17. library addict
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 08:55:07

    Well done, Sarah.

    I’m a casual football fan. I mostly follow tennis (love Federer) and iceskating. And I know more than I want to about golf, since it’s my dad’s favorite.

    Sadly, most sports-themed books take me out of the story because even a casual fan like me knows more about football/baseball/hockey than the author (and I am not a baseball or hockey fan). When you have set-ups like the star quarterback not knowing his team was sold or players not attending practice regularly it’s hard to take it seriously. If an author is going to choose an active athlete as their hero, they should try to get the majority of details right.

    My favorite sports-themed romance is probably an old Silhouette Intimate Moments by Kathleen Korbel, Edge of the World (that is in spite of it’s totally unrealistic take on Olympic skiing which is contrary to what I said above about realism in the sport – oh well LOL)

  18. Jane
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 09:05:51

    @library addict Speaking of skating romances, what about Summer’s End by Kathleen Gilles Seidel. The heroine is a former Olympic gold medal figure skater (I think gold medal) and I thought Seidel did a great job of capturing the heroine’s athleticism. In one scene they have to take a canoe to get someone to medical care and they agree that the heroine (Amy, I think) will be anchor because she has more endurance from her training.

  19. Jane
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 09:06:25

    @Keishon Loved One on One and I read several passages to Ned (former baller) and he said that it all sounded very authentic to him.

  20. TracyS
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 09:15:53

    As a born and bred Wisconsinite here: HUGE Packer fan. @Molly, I totally agree about the Rodgers/Favre thing. I used to really like Favre, but wow, when he showed his true colors, they were ugly!! Rodgers showed true class through all of the hoopla with Favre and has shown the world that he is NOT living in Favre’s shadow. Um, okay, I’m not passionate about that or anything! LOL

    The Donald Driver story is a tearjerker for sure. I am so glad he got his SuperBowl ring!

    I am one of the few that likes Clay Matthews hair better too. LOL The man is a gentle giant and I love that! He’s not gentle on the field, but whenever I see an interview with him I am always surprised at how soft spoken he is.

  21. jennifer
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 09:24:28

    I *love* hockey romances, but I am especially nit-picky with them, as sometimes the facts don’t ring true (the sport part, not the romance part). The other thing I’ve never understood about hockey-type romances is that 9 times out of 10 the heroine always seems ignorant about the game the hero plays… and growing up in Pittsburgh, I couldn’t imagine a place where women *would not* know the basics of any sport.

  22. LEW
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 09:33:48

    Considering what a huge sports fan I am, I’m beginning to find it odd that I’ve never read a sports romance. And perhaps even more odd that I’ve never really wanted to. Maybe it’s because I was a college athlete and knew too many athletes and am so familiar with the workings of athletics that the genre just doesn’t hold much intrigue for me. However, I have a good friend who’s Canadian and a HUGE hockey fan. I think I’ll get her “Body Check” and read it first!

  23. Isabel Cooper
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 09:37:11

    Most team sports don’t do anything for me, with the exception of hockey and possibly baseball. One-on-one or pairs stuff–fencing, riding, skating, swimming–interests me more.

    That said, I do like the teamwork aspect that LG mentions above, and the idea of different people coming together with a common goal, which is harder to do with solitary sports. You can, I think, and I think I might like a well-done end result more, but it’s tough–especially if you’re trying to show a romantic relationship instead of a mentor-student one.

    I also really like sports movies, so I think I could get into a hockey or baseball-based romance. I’d want something with an athlete heroine, though: the Ali Mills/Charlie’s Mom/Adrian archetype isn’t my thing.

  24. K. Z. Snow
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 09:38:44

    Beautiful job, Sarah! And I fully agree Super Bowls should take place in weather. That would test the mettle of players and fans alike.

    Diehard Packer Backers don’t need no stinking sports romances. What we could use, however, is some slash fic centering on Aaron Rodgers and another hunka-hunka burning quarterback. Heh. ;-)

  25. Aemelia
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 09:40:49

    Now I have a hankerin’ for SQUEAKY cheese curds! Unfortunately I won’t be visiting Mom & fam until this spring…maybe I can talk Mom into a trip to Michigan-just to bring me some curds. :)

    The game definately kept my blood pumping, but I was pleased my guys came out on top!

    Great job on your sonnet, Sarah!

  26. L.A.D.
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 10:16:27

    I’m not a big sports fan. I do love boxing, mixed martial arts and cage fighting. Staying on your feet, staying focused and being determined while you get elbowed and kicked and taken to the mat? That’s some warrior stuff.

    About 10 years ago when I was 18, I went with my dad to the Lennox Lewis vs. Michael Grant fight at Madison Square Garden. I was the only female and the only person below 40 in our part of the stands. I stood up and yelled and jumped up and down for almost the whole fight. Despite Michael Grant getting KO’d it was still the best night ever.

  27. Cecilia Grant
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 10:47:04

    Oh, my gosh. I don’t even follow football (unless you count Friday Night Lights) but now I kind of want a Donald Driver jersey.

  28. Shannon Stacey
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 10:56:29

    The other thing I've never understood about hockey-type romances is that 9 times out of 10 the heroine always seems ignorant about the game the hero plays… and growing up in Pittsburgh, I couldn't imagine a place where women *would not* know the basics of any sport

    That usually doesn’t bother me because I think, if you’re not a sports fan, it’s amazing what you can tune out. We’re a (Boston) sports-loving household in general, but I live for Patriots football. I’m wearing a Pats sweatshirt right now. My Droid X wallpaper is the Flying Elvis. A huge signed photograph of Vinatieri taken seconds after he kicked the Super Bowl-winning field goal in ’02 hangs prominently in my living room.

    As we settled in to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday, my fifteen-year-old son (who has lived with me his entire life) wandered through the living room and asked what we were watching. Then he said, “That’s the one with touch downs not home runs, right?”

  29. Allison
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 11:02:55

    I also love Susan Elizabeth Phillips football series beginning with It Had To Be You in addition to Rachel Gibson and Deirdre Martin’s series.

  30. Wendy
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 11:03:35

    I don’t read sports romances anymore because I’ve been burned too many times by authors not doing their homework. I get this image in my mind of them sitting at their computer keyboard saying to themselves, “Well it doesn’t matter as long as I give my readers a hunky hero. Because women don’t care about sports, just hunky heroes.”

    Worst offending incidents I’ve read in the past? Baseball pitchers who routinely win 20+ games every.single.season (uh, no). Baseball pitchers who routinely pitch complete games (uh, double no…unless they’re Roy Halladay, and he’s a freak). Baseball starting pitchers who seem to pitch every single game (oh dear Lord – NO!). And while we’re at it – baseball players “dating” during the regular season. Authors, here’s a tip – look at a baseball schedule sometime. These guys barely have time to sleep let alone romance a heroine.

    An AFC football team beating an NFC team to go to the Superbowl (AFC and NFC don’t meet in the playoffs UNTIL the Superbowl). And my personal favorite….

    A football offensive lineman whose nickname is TD for “touchdown.” And for those of you how know anything about football penalities you’ll realize how little sense THAT nickname makes for a friggin’ lineman.


    So yeah. I boycott sports romances. They just end up spiking my blood pressure.

    On the bright side, I feel better now that I’ve vented my spleen all over Dear Author’s comment thread :) Sorry about that Jane…..

  31. LG
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 11:04:37

    @Shannon Stacey – Lol, your son sounds like me! But at least I didn’t also grow up in a sports-loving household, so my ignorance is less astonishing.

    For something with a heavy sports element to really appeal to me, I’ve got to be able to ride out my ignorance of the sport on the wave of the emotion the author creates. If the emotion isn’t there or I can’t believe it, I don’t have a love of the sport to fall back on to get me through the book (or manga, or anime). What little I know about sports I have learned through osmosis from reading and watching sports-themed fiction (so woe is me if the fiction presented the sport wrongly – I wouldn’t know the difference, and my “knowledge” becomes trash, lol).

  32. Lada
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 11:13:09

    Brava SB, two fine sonnets!! Congrats to all Packer fans (and I’m barely choking when saying that since I bleed Vikings Purple) on a well deserved win!!

    My college roomate was from Ellsworth, WI so we snacked on squeeky cheese curds many a late night. Salty, yummy goodness she still sends me for holidays!!

    I love sports romances and wish more authors wrote them (and did a better job). Deidre Martin doesn’t work for me because it feels like her hockey is more like a part-time job. She also has too many silly details that pull me out of the story (like the heroine in the strapless, backless gown…how the hell does it stay up then??) Haven’t read Burton’s book yet but am looking forward to it. Anyone know of any good baseball romances?

    Sports movies are favorites too, and I watch a terrific one this weekend called The Express about Ernie Davis, the first African American to win the Heisman. Great snapshot of the civil rights movement as well as a fantastic football movie.

  33. Susanna Fraser
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 11:28:39

    Worst offending incidents I've read in the past? Baseball pitchers who routinely win 20+ games every.single.season (uh, no). Baseball pitchers who routinely pitch complete games (uh, double no…unless they're Roy Halladay, and he's a freak). Baseball starting pitchers who seem to pitch every single game (oh dear Lord – NO!).

    SO MUCH THIS! I have no patience for baseball romances where the author clearly knows far less about the game than I do. Granted, I’m a serious fan who goes to about 20 games a year and follows the other 142 by TV/radio/internet…but surely I’m the target audience for a baseball romance, then. And I don’t want to read books that insult my intelligence with mistakes any half-serious fan would catch.

    And if I were ever to write a baseball book (which I might–I have a baseball plot bunny that occasionally rears its head), I wouldn’t feel like I already know enough on the basis of my partial season ticket strip, lurking on the USS Mariner blog, and reading of Doug Glanville’s book. I’d need to learn a lot more about the everyday life of a player, find someone at Safeco Field to give me a tour of the parts of the park fans never see, and so on.

  34. Susanna Fraser
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 11:31:43

    Oh, and I forgot to mention that I know it’s possible to create a delicious baseball love story, because it’s called Bull Durham. What with pitchers and catchers reporting soon, it’s time for a rewatch.

  35. Cassandra Carr
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 12:02:50

    Oh my God, you guys are restoring my faith in romance readers! I write sports romances and always wonder how many sport-specific details to include. Now I won’t worry so much about that inspirational speech in the locker room!

    I know both sports I write about (hockey and bull riding), but yeah, when authors get the details wrong it makes me want to put my fist through a wall.

    Small shameless plug: my March release from Loose Id, Talk to Me, features an ex-hockey player hero!

  36. Patrice
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 12:26:43

    Didn’t Lori Foster do a few books with mixed martial arts, or ultimate fighting, heroes? I read one, Simon Says I think was the title, and it was entertaining. Usually I don’t gravitate to sports romances. I agree with other commenters that getting sports details wrong bugs me, especially obvious details. (and by obvious I mean that even a non-sports fan like me noticed them!) It’s why I generally stay away from SCUBA stories, not that there are too many of those!;-)

    I’ll have to check out a few of these recommendations. I love getting new ideas for books to try. TY for the discussion!

  37. L.A.D.
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 12:38:46

    Yup, Lori Foster has her SBC series. It’s cute. I have Hard To Handle, Simon Says, Jude’s Law (it has an ex-SBC fighter) and My Man Michael.

    My Man Michael was a DNF for me because he goes to an alternate universe or something ridiculous like that.

  38. Cassandra Carr
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 13:07:50

    I liked the SBC series until My Man Michael. I agree – I was so disappointed when it suddenly went paranormal. Shows that even established authors make the mistake of not always giving the reader what they expect.

  39. Jane
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 13:39:56

    @L.A.D. & @Patrice : I tried to read the SBC books but I’ve always found Foster’s heroes a little too womanly for me. Like they were chicks with dicks (and not transgendered either).

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  41. Jane
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 13:43:14

    @Wendy ah ha ha ha. Those are hilarious examples. I had to chide Jaci Burton in my goodreads review for having Mick play into the second half during the last preseason game (her book takes place in the offseason and then preseason) but I let it ride because she actually knows what she is talking about. I’m pretty dumb about hockey but I recall the disaster that was the Boys of Summer anthology by Silh Desire with Julie Leto. Holy crap was that inaccurate (secret sale of a baseball team). Bella Andre’s one football book I read was so, so wrong. I have to know what the titles of some of these books are. I wonder if someone heard about the Refrigerator Perry and thought, hey, I’ll call my offensive line character TD.

  42. Jane
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 13:45:52

    @L.A.D. I was just on twitter the other day asking if UFC was taking over boxing in popularity. I have seen an increase in coverage of it on (although not on the talk radio shows and not on ESPN proper).

  43. Jane
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 13:45:52

    @L.A.D. I was just on twitter the other day asking if UFC was taking over boxing in popularity. I have seen an increase in coverage of it on (although not on the talk radio shows and not on ESPN proper).

  44. Jane
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 13:46:49

    @LEW I’m worried now because I think KristieJ, our resident Canadian hockey expert has said some of the things in Martin’s book are wrong. Your huge hockey fan may be disappointed.

  45. Wendy
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 13:55:14

    Jane: That was ultimately the thing that really bugged me. The author didn’t give me the reason why her offensive lineman had the TD nickname. Can they score touchdowns? Yes. But 1) it’s not an everyday thing and 2) the circumstances need to be right or else it’s a penalty. Most offensive lineman go their whole careers without touching the football…let alone scoring a friggin’ touchdown. Ugh.

    Oh, and thanks for that tip about the Boys Of Summer anthology. I think I might have that one lying around somewhere in the TBR…..

  46. LEW
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 13:58:51

    @Jane – thanks for the heads-up. I’ll definitely read it first and see what I can pick up (my friend and her husband have been training me in Canadian hockey) so I can give her warnings on where to grit her teeth and push through.

  47. Jane
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 14:00:02

    @Wendy Don’t read it. I fear for your blood pressure. But I do know exactly what you mean.

    In the recent Super I read, the hero was a former pro QB and the one time that the author describes a football play she has him throwing a long arching pass to a running back. Yes, running backs catch the ball but short passes, screens. It’s wide receivers that go long. It was so fundamental that it made me scream out loud a little bit.

  48. L.A.D.
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 14:00:59

    Jane, boxing will always be my first love but for some reason I don’t find myself interested in any of the current boxers.

    I never know anyone’s name anymore, either. I was all about Michael Grant being the underdog. I couldn’t stand Lennox Lewis and then there was..

    Prince Naseem Hamed! “I’m a lion!”
    I think they carried him in on a carpet once. Classic.

    I don’t know anyone’s name in UFC either BUT the fights are so high octane (at least to me) that I don’t care.

    I spend the whole time amazed and cringing and talking to the screen. “Oooh! Oh! In the face?!”
    Love it.

  49. Collette
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 14:04:20

    Despite the fact that I am a Bears fan, I was rooting for the Packers (don’t tell my neighbors). Jane, thanks for giving me another reason for liking them. The Donald Driver story is lovely and made me cry a little.

  50. jo
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 14:14:46

    I was disappointed the Steelers lost but not terribly sad that the Packers won. I couldn’t have written a sonnet to the other guys, though. I watch a lot of football, but my idea of sports in fiction is the Myron Bolitar series by Harlan Coben. I did enjoy SEP’s Chicago Stars for a romance backdrop. NASCAR? No way. Those guys are tiny. And for the record, it’s not too early to say Go Steelers. There’s always next year (unless there’s a lockout, of course.)

  51. Sunita
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 14:53:57

    @Wendy: I so feel your pain. One of the reasons I DNF’d the HSR Jane is talking about is because even in the first couple of chapter the depiction of the QB hero seemed slightly off. I’m not surprised it didn’t improve.

    I want to read Body Check and Icebreaker, but Jane’s description of the locker room scene (in her review of Body Check) has me worried. No team would let a new PR hire go into the locker room right after a game like that, and it is highly unlikely she’d see a bunch of naked towel-snapping guys anyway. I got to go to dinner with a group of NHL players after a game once, and they were mostly just tired. Incredibly sweet, but 3 hours killing yourself on the ice takes a toll even when you’re 25.

    I have an upcoming review for a Kimani with an NFL hero. The author just nailed certain aspects of the player interaction and life perfectly, but then she went and completely screwed up how injured reserve works! Oh well.

  52. Maili
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 15:53:35

    @L.A.D. Hurray! You has two names I could recognise: Lennox Lewis and Prince Naseem! What a relief.

    If I was asked which sport the Packers play in, I wouldn’t be able to answer. My knowledge of sports is almost zero. I could never be able to answer any sports-related question in Trivial Pursuit, for goodness sake.

    In spite of my appalling ignorance, I do enjoy sports-themed novels and films — as long as if doesn’t involve a lot of obscure-to-me references.

    There was a romance novel that constantly mentioned ‘ESPN’, but it never explained what the acronym was. I had to google because it was distracting me from reading the novel so much.

    (For those who can’t be arsed to google: ESPN = Entertainment and Sports Programming Network).

  53. Maili
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 15:58:58

    “You has”?! I’m sorry. “You have” is what I meant to write. Time for meds, methinks.

  54. Maili
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 16:07:36

    My husband has just pointed out that archery *is* a sport. Oops. (I always saw it as a recreational activity.) Well, I suppose that makes it one sport I know. Hurray?

  55. L.A.D.
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 16:31:41

    I’m in your boat because I never know what people are talking about when they talk sports.

    I always say that if a famous athlete sat next to me and expected me to know who they are, well, it just wouldn’t happen.

  56. C.J. Chase
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 16:34:00

    I didn’t realize Jane was from Wisconsin. I’ll make certain to think “Jaaaane” from now on whenever I see the name. Like Molly O’Keefe, we were a divided family Sunday. My husband wore his Steeler shirt and I wore my GB sweatshirt. Clever man that he is, dh was quite philosophical about the result — he knows that watching his team lose is a small price to pay for a happy wife.

    As for sports-themed romances, one of my favorites is Sharon Mignerey’s inspirational From the Ashes. It’s a Love Inspired Suspense between a going-blind former QB and a woman who trains guide dogs. Although it’s in the suspense line, I’d say it’s more bittersweet than suspenseful. Sharon’s a good writer, and I think it’s one of her best. A shame it isn’t better known.

  57. jennifer armintrout
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 16:40:48

    I’m so glad people are leaving comments regarding errors in baseball romances. I read one where the pitcher had allegedly let every single batter get a hit off him, but he played the entire game. I understand not wanting to burn through your bullpen too early, but seriously? If your still using your starter going into the seventh inning and the only outs you’ve gotten are from your fielders, maybe it’s time to bring in some relief.

    Stuff like that DESTROYS the story for me. If I wanted to watch bad management decisions, I’d just watch a Tigers game.

  58. Ridley
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 17:03:33

    Football and basketball do nothing for me, but I live for Bruins hockey and Red Sox baseball. My Sox hat isn’t pink and my B’s jersey’s signed by most of the current roster (including Tim Thomas, whose jersey I’ve worn since his nobody days.) My mother was the hockey fan, telling us stories of Terry O’Reilly and Bobby Orr and taking us to all the UMass games. My father the baseball fan, carrying on about the Spaceman Bill Lee. Sports are not a superficial hobby for me. They’re not something I got into to have something to do with my husband (he actually despises all sports), they’re something I’m passionate and knowledgeable about – like most women I know. My BFF ends her texts with how many more days there are until pitchers and catchers report. Sports and teh wimmins are tight these days.

    So I generally don’t read sports romances because they flub so many details. Wendy points out the baseball pitfalls pretty extensively, and I’ve noticed all sorts of “uh, what?” details in the hockey ones. Namely, the hockey player with the big ego wears on me. Hockey players are the most down-to-earth professional athletes out there, no doubt because they’re all Canadian. Books make this assumption that they’re like flashy NBA players or something, when it couldn’t be further from the truth. Watching the All Star Game is kind of amusing, because they all looked really uncomfortable being fussed over like that. I think Ovechkin’s the only really flashy star.

  59. sarah mayberry
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 17:53:08

    This is an awesome thread. I just watched my first Superbowl after reading “Get Your Own Damn Beer, I’m Watching The Game” by Holly Robinson Peete. Thanks to Holly, I actually understood what I was watching for a change. We see a lot of gridiron in movies and TV down here in Australia, but it has never really made sense to me. Now it does! And those bodies on the field. (fanning myself) Those tights are just grrrrr. Australian Rules football is king down here and it’s a very dynamic game with the players often getting airborne – here’s a link to some highlights if anyone is interested.

    I’m also a huge fan of K1 Boxing – this is basically boxing and kickboxing combined and a bit like UFC. We used to go to live fights when we were living in New Zealand and I freaking loved it. There was this one guy who did this spinning axe kick (called “rolling thunder”) that chopped down on the back of his opponents neck… So spectacular when he pulled it off. And an instant winner.

  60. Tae
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 18:22:50

    Jane you make me miss cheesecurds! and deep fried cheesecurds! Though I am living in another country, I was awake and at the local bar at 8AM to watch the Superbowl streaming live on Monday morning. I was one of 15 people there.

    Though I really don’t care about sports, except for soccer (and only during the World Cup), I’m always a fan of all WI teams

  61. Janine
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 18:34:20

    I really don't care about sports, except for soccer (and only during the World Cup)

    That pretty accurately describes me as well, at least when it comes to team sports. If you count figure skating, I care about that too.

    With regard to sports romances, I wonder, does anyone else have difficulty suspending disbelief? For some reason I do. So many pro athletes’ marriages end in divorce, because of the traveling, the dedication to the career, and the temptations of other women who pursue them. I would hate to be married IRL to anyone hugely famous, be it a rock star, a movie star, a world leader or a sports star, but for some reason I have an easier time suspending disbelief when reading about other celebrity characters than I do with athletes.

  62. Ridley
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 18:36:22

    When I was in college, my friend and I would spend Friday nights drinking beer, playing cards and watching Aussie rules football. With bodies like that in uniforms like those, why wouldn’t we watch? /rowr

  63. molly O'Keefe
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 18:59:37

    OH MY GOD!!! Deep Fried Cheese curds! You just haven’t lived until you’ve been to a Wisconsin Okterberfest, had too many Old Style’s and then gone on the Zipper. Oh, US of A I miss you.

  64. Suze
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 19:21:10

    ~ Ned (former baller) ~

    Teehee! Okay, dragging the mind back to civilization…

    I’m not a sports fan in any way, but I loves me some YA romances about the plain girl (or gay outcast boy) getting the high school quarterback. I love that trope beyond all that’s reasonable.

    My high school didn’t have any formal sports teams (maybe some basketball or volleyball?), because the nearest rivals were a 4-hour drive away. We did (and do) have a Junior A hockey team, but I don’t care about hockey either.

    I enjoy Gibson’s hockey books, but I don’t care for Martin–her work feels more like chicklit to me than Romance.

    For a sports movie with a romantic subplot, I recommend The Replacements. (I’m able to suspend my disbelief pretty thoroughly for Keanu Reeves.) I especially like the dance number in jail.

  65. sarah mayberry
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 19:31:45

    @Ridley – I have noticed a distressing tendency toward loser shorts in the current Aussie Rules uniforms. Back in my teen years, those shorts were spray painted on. Now a days, there appears to be wayyyy too much breathing room going on. Note to self: send email to uniform manufacturers….

  66. Lorelai
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 23:16:45

    At the people who said I don’t how a woman could know nothing about sports. I know very little and I have friends who know less. If you don’t care people may not explain it to you, and you won’t try to figure it out.
    That being said it seems annoying that writers don’t do enough research to make the characters believable. I can understand your frustration.
    Ps I am trying to learn about sports, so during the Superbowl I asked dad how the points system works, and I learned for the first time that kicking a field goal not during a touchdown is three points. I had not known this; maybe football will make more sense.
    P.S. S. My favorite sports books are from children’s books. I Loved the football scenes in Maud Hart Lovelace’ Betsy books. I also love Harry Potter, (Quidditch counts right!)

  67. TracyS
    Feb 09, 2011 @ 12:14:32

    @Collette: “Despite the fact that I am a Bears fan, I was rooting for the Packers (don't tell my neighbors)” I almost snorted coffee out of my nose at that one. My dad always says when the Bears and the Vikings play each other, he wishes there was a way for them to both loose! :o)

    @Sarah Mayberry: we have a chain restaurant called “Culver’s” that has deep fried cheese curds on the menu. I cannot order them for myself, because I’m trying to loose weight but holy cow, when my kids do, I always steal a couple…or 4! LOL

  68. Estara
    Feb 09, 2011 @ 14:13:21

    @Keira Soleore: Yes, but Wikipedia says Major League baseball players are not allowed to take part in the Baseball World Cup, heh.

  69. orannia
    Feb 09, 2011 @ 21:03:47

    Jane – I just read your Body Check review and it, plus the quote, have me dying to read this book!

    As for sport book recommendations, I have one but I’m not sure if you’re interested in reading a m/m romance? If so, I really enjoyed Sean Kennedy’s Tigers and Devils. While it’s not set in the locker room – the first person POV is of the other character, who runs a film festival, sport does play a big role. Oh, and it’s set in Australia, so the sport in question in Australian Rules.

    Oh, and I must confess to knowing next to nothing about American Football (or Gridiron as we call it here :) but I am about to start watching the third season of Friday Night Lights so am trying to educate myself :) I live in a rugby mad nation, especially this year with the World Cup being played here!

  70. anket sorular?
    Dec 18, 2011 @ 18:31:10

    I will immediately grab your rss as I can not to find your e-mail subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Kindly let me know in order that I could subscribe. Thanks.

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