Memoirs of a Rugby-Playing Man
Guts, Glory, and Blood in the World's Greatest Game
By Jay Atkinson
Thomas Dunne Books, Hardcover, 9780312547691, 336pp.
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
List Price: $25.99*
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If all sports are really about war, then rugby is a heart-thumping epic of bayonet charges and hand-to-hand fighting. In "Memoirs of a Rugby-Playing Man," bestselling author Jay Atkinson describes his thirty-five year odyssey in the sport-from his rough and rowdy days at the University of Florida, through the intrigue of various foreign tours, club championships, and all star selections, up to his current stint with the freewheeling Vandals Rugby Club out of Los Angeles. Jay has played in more than 500 matches, for which he's suffered three broken ribs, a detached retina, a fractured cheekbone and orbital bone, four deadened teeth, and a dislocated ankle. Written in the style of Siegried Sassoon's Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man, Atkinson's book explains why it was all worth it--the sum total of his violent adventures, and the valuable insights he has gained from them.
Praise for Memoirs of a Rugby-Playing Man
“Mr. Atkinson has written a hymn of praise for the rugby game and the rugby community that will ring true to anyone who has played rugby at any level, and will grip even those who haven't.” –Wall Street Journal
“Atkinson’s stylish, unabashedly macho memoir is fueled by two passions: his love of grind-it-out athletic competition and the obvious joy he takes in the high-testosterone, alcohol-fueled comradeship of his fellow rugby players…. Seeded throughout come lessons and insights gleaned from three and a half decades of broken bones and bruised hearts, soaring victory and stunning loss…. Nobody has better explored the game (and the life) of rugby better than Atkinson.” –Boston Globe
“As a thirty-five-year veteran of the sports, the author’s passion translates easily to the page, providing a reflective look at his entrance into what he dubs the ‘blood fraternity’ . . . A testosterone-laden tale deserving of an audience well beyond the locker room.”---Kirkus
“Raucous… With intermittent nods to his fiction classes with famed novelist Harry Crews, the brash writer lists his many injuries from the game, but he remains loyal to this sport requiring commitment, skill, and discipline. There is a short stint in jail, drinking and brawls aplenty, and arguments that spill into the streets. Still, Atkinson, wised up from lessons on the rugby field and off, has created a brawny, engaging treat for followers of the sport and the curious.” –Publishers Weekly
“A reminder of what the game's all about: the friendships you make, the places you go, the lengths you go to to get your weekly fix, the financial sacrifices those of us not swept up into the white card-infested, gouging claim-ridden, money-infected world of professionalism have to make in order to play. It's a reminder that playing and loving rugby, from top level to bottom level, is a lifestyle choice from which few return and even fewer would want to: on that principle alone, it's a bloody good read. Find it and enjoy.” –Planet Rugby
Praise for Jay Atkinson
“Jay Atkinson, the bard of New England toughness, a cross between the poet Robert Frost and the Bruins’ Bobby Orr. Nobody writes about the thick-headed glories of sport with redder blood than Atkinson…. [He] evokes the true joy of kicking ass.” --Men's Health
"A bona-fide masterstroke." — Publishers Weekly on Ice Time
"[Atkinson] seamlessly weaves his past with current events, detailing the team's fortunes while lovingly recalling his own at that time of life." — The Virginian-Pilot on Ice Time
"An evocative, bittersweet, poetic journey of a grown man trying, as we all try, not to recapture youth but to remember the splendor of it." — H. G. Bissinger, author of the bestselling Friday Night Lights on Ice Time
“Atkinson keeps his plot moving at a good pace, offering enough twists to keep the reader’s attention, but it is the humor and insight of his characters that make the novel work.” --The New York Times Book Review on Caveman Politics