I’m sure some of the Germans started to doubt it will ever happen, but it looks like I may have a publishing deal soon for Year of the Razorback…(although the title may change).
A University press in Texas is interested in publishing the book as part of a series: (Sports in the American West) I’m working with their editor now to make some revisions to make it fit the western theme.
In other news, I’m very excited to be returning to Ravensberg in a few weeks to help the Razorbacks prepare for the 2017 season. It will be exciting to be back in my German home and coach the Razorbacks again.
Anyway, looks like there might be a light at the end of the tunnel as for getting the book published. Here’s an excerpt–
…I drive 10 miles south to Friedrichshafen and look across Lake Constance to see the snowy Alps in Switzerland and Austria. Next, I head 20 miles north to Ravensburg. Driving through rolling hills, I see a curious mix of farms, small towns, factories and residential neighborhoods. Germans don’t segregate land by use the way Americans do. Clumps of steep-roofed houses often sit among hops fields and industrial plants.
Every town seems to have a few factories, but I never see the glut of industrial land common in the US. Manufacturing has dropped in the States, but what’s left is generally in neighborhoods entirely given over to it. Germans seem to have married residential, commercial and agricultural in a way not seen in the US.
Residential neighborhoods themselves are harder to pigeonhole than back home. In the US, it’s easy to immediately identify the socio-economic status of a location by the housing. Poor neighborhoods, lower-middle class, middle-middle class, upper-middle and various strains of affluence are all separate and recognizable, by neighborhood.
Here, rich and poor are closer together. No ostentatious palaces, (a few castles,) but no slums either. Most homes and apartment buildings look clean and comfortable, but modest by American standards.
I don’t have a roadmap or GPS, but the two-lane highways winding through hops fields and small towns are well-marked, with arrows pointing to Ravensburg and other neighboring villages at each roundabout.
The Razorback’s hometown of Ravensburg is a medium size town of 50,000 known for its jigsaw puzzle company and the Medieval towers surrounding the downtown core. I’d find that Ravensburg is a very typical German city.
Though the weather is cold, locals clad in dark coats and hats sit at the many outdoor restaurants and cafes. Germans eat outside whenever possible. Blankets are left on the chairs for customers to use on cold days. It’s impossible to walk more than a block in any German city without finding an ice cream shop selling cones for a Euro a scoop.
The downtown core of Ravensburg is also typical in that it’s mostly off-limits to cars. The streets are lined with small fountains that will flow in spring. Unlike Friedrichshafen and many larger towns, Ravensburg largely avoided Allied bombings during World War II, so many of the buildings are hundreds of years old.
It’s a damp and overcast day and after walking the town for an hour, I’m ready for a nap. I landed less than 24 hours ago and my first practice with the team is tonight.
Our first import player, Jeremy Stewart flies into Munich late tonight, so I’ll be the only non-German at practice. Due to family commitments, it will be two weeks until quarterback Garret Colao arrives from Florida. No matter, it’s nearly a month before our opener and my first goal is to meet players, begin learning names, positions, strengths and weaknesses. Our acting quarterback is receiver Alex Borgmann. He had played QB the previous season until he blew out his ACL against the Frankfurt Pirates; and he’s still injured. With a stiff brace immobilizing his left knee, Borgy can only hobble and throw weak passes from the pocket. This is a big problem for my offense, an offense that requires the QB to be a running threat. It’s frustrating, but we’ll just have to pretend we can run. During these two weeks I say, “Trust me, this will work when we have our quarterback,” more times than I can count. I just hope I’m right.
We practice at the Ravensburg Turn-und Sportbund (TSB) The TSB is a sports complex consisting of six outdoor fields, a small stadium for the soccer team, an indoor gym, an indoor four-storey climbing wall, tennis courts, a roller hockey rink and a bike/skate park. Also on site is a small restaurant and bar.
The TSB is a busy place. Soccer is the main sport, but the Razorbacks and a baseball team, the Ravensburg Leprechauns play here as well. (Yes, they actually have baseball in Germany.) When I arrive at practice, I usually navigate dozens of soccer teams in training, boys and girls, from very young to middle-aged. During junior practice, we often share our field with an adult soccer team.
Tonight, I notice how poor the lighting is. Dim lighting is common on Euro practice fields. This probably doesn’t matter much for soccer, as the ball is large and usually near the ground. But for American throwing and catching sports like football and baseball dim lights make it difficult to perform. After practice, offensive lineman Dominic Johann invites me to have a beer with him the following night. This is the first time I’ve ever been invited for a beer by a player. It’s still a novelty, but one I quickly get used to.
I vaguely hear stomping and commotion when Jeremy arrives well after midnight. I’d planned on getting up and meeting him, but my clock is still screwed up and I’m barely conscious… it will wait until tomorrow…