February 22, 2016 at 8:37 am #6737
Delighted to have found this group! After a few years working on this memoir in my spare time, I am driving to get the ball across the goal line… Here is a rough draft query letter I have prepared for the project. Please let me know if you’re interested in working as a critique partner, and tell me about yourself and your own project.
Football experts (e.g. Sports Illustrated, ESPN, CBS Sports) today universally characterize JACK NEUMEIER as a genius, crediting him with inventing the brand of football that electrifies hundreds of millions of football fans and that dominates football at every level of play from peewee leagues to NFL Super Bowls. But that was not always the case. “Cactus Jack’s Aerial Attack: The Birth of Football’s Modern Spread Offense,” a creative nonfiction sports memoir, combines elements of “Friday Night Lights” with “Rudy” with “Remember the Titans” with “American Graffiti” to tell the triumphant true story of how Coach Neumeier forever changed the game of football.
Written from the perspective of a dorky, underweight 16-year old bookworm with unfulfilled dreams of gridiron glory, the story follows Cactus Jack, a middle-aged high school football coach with a well-deserved reputation for mediocrity, as he confronts a harsh reality. With revolution and rock music in the air, the Vietnam War, race riots and assassinations on the evening news and his job in jeopardy, Neumeier has lost virtually his entire 1969 team. With only one year to turn his remote, suburban high school football program around, he looks across the Generation Gap at an inexperienced, undersized crop of candidates for his 1970 team who hardly seem capable of playing in a varsity football game much less making it through a winning season.
In response, Cactus Jack, an unlikely revolutionary, formulates a new type of offense – now known simply as “the spread” – which relies more on teamwork, quickness, courage, skill and intelligence than size and speed. As his innovative concepts begin to take shape, Neumeier approaches the scrawny narrator to play center, plunging the narrator literally into the heart of his coach’s creative process. With the season approaching, the center becomes the keystone alongside stumpy guards and undersized tackles on what evolves into a remarkably successful offensive line. Together, this “band of brothers” will pave the way for Neumeier’s offense, changing “three yards and a cloud of dust” football into an exciting, unpredictable, wide-open passing game. Over the course of a magical season filled with drama, conflict and intrigue, the narrator and his teammates unexpectedly grow into and flourish in their roles.
The team’s foils over the course of the tension-filled season and their opponents both in the final game of the regular season and then again in the championship game are a team led by a future football legend (ANTHONY DAVIS of USC-Notre Dame, Heisman Trophy fame). Neumeier’s quarterback (DANA POTTER) becomes a prep All-American, Coach Neumeier is named Coach of the Year for the entire state of California, and Cactus Jack’s offense becomes famous among coaches across the nation, attracting future Professional Football Hall of Famer JOHN ELWAY to the school a few years later.
I was that scrawny center. My buddies and I were the runts and benchwarmers Coach Neumeier transformed into a team. Over the course of a year together, we helped him create what became football’s dominant offense – a year when underdogs became champions, when teenaged boys became men, when a middle-aged high school football coach reinvented himself and the game of football along the way. I hope that your agency will be interested in my story.
I would love to discuss your interest in representing me in connection with the publication of “Cactus Jack’s Aerial Attack,” as well as related matters. Thanks very much for your time.
Very truly yours,March 2, 2016 at 6:13 am #6768
Hi! I’d be interested in reading a couple chapters.
HannahApril 4, 2016 at 7:27 am #6809
Hi Hannah! Thanks, and sorry for the delay in responding. I assumed I’d get an email notice if there were any responses to my invitation. How do I get the chapters to you?April 4, 2016 at 7:43 am #6810
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