I read a book about football.

And I liked it.

I don’t understand football. I don’t understand team sports in general.¹ When I was in high school, I completely avoided all interscholastic sports events. I was regularly accused of having zero school spirit, a charge which was largely justified, but really, high school football was also not that big a deal in my town.²

So an obsession with football is pretty alien to me. I watched the first season of Friday Night Lights and enjoyed it on an intellectual level, as a sociological study of a foreign culture.

Dairy Queen I flat out enjoyed.

D.J. is the only girl in a family of football men, poor but extremely hardworking farmers who are better at football than at dairy farming. Since her dad busted his knee, D.J.’s been doing all the farm work (and her dad has taken over the cooking, with mixed results) and is getting it done, though it cut into her ability to do schoolwork. Luckily, it’s summer, so all she needs to do is the farmwork. And do a favor for a family friend by training the quarterback of her school’s rival football team. And maybe fall for said quarterback. And definitely decide to go out for football in the fall.

And maybe learn communication methods other than her family’s abysmal passive-aggressive ones. And maybe figure out what’s up with her best friend and her little brother. And her parents.

In some ways, it feels like reading a therapy transcript. A very funny therapy transcript, minus the therapist. But with a lot of emotions and relationships, looked at through day to day events. D.J.’s often a bit of an idiot when it comes to people, but she’s so honest and drily humorous that it would be hard not to like her. I don’t understand football, but the overworked mom, the closeted friend, the frustrated dad, the isolated brother—he’s almost as closeted as the friend, it’s just not about sexual orientation in his case— are all real, believable, understandable people

Don’t worry; I’m still staying far, far away from football.

¹There’s the cooperative part of the brain, and there’s the competitive part of the brain. These parts in opposition. Somehow team sports imply that they can be turned on simultaneously. This is… weird.

²Our team lost almost all the time, anyway. Occasionally, the town could muster up some enthusiasm for hockey or soccer. When we were winning.

Dairy Queen ~ Catherine Gilbert Murdock
My review of Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s Princess Ben