Thursday, July 26, 2007

What I'm reading Golden Boy by Paul Hornung:

Hornung personified his nickname, "Golden Boy," on many levels—as a football star; a handsome, hard-partying ladies' man; and a friend to the rich and beautiful—and his autobiography covers each aspect of his life in a colorful and up-front manner. The book, "as told to William F. Reed," is conversational in tone; readers will feel as if they're one of Hornung's Packer teammates or drinking buddies reminiscing about the good old days. Hornung was good at pretty much everything he did, and he lets readers know it. But the bragging and name-dropping (from JFK and Frank Sinatra to mobsters and countless showgirls) is balanced by Hornung's genuine love and respect for his mother, his Packers coach Vince Lombardi and his teammates and friends.

Picked it up at B&N for like $5. It's a pretty easy read, but I only read a few pages every night so it'll take me another week or so to get through it. So far it's entertaining if a bit on the . . . shallow side. It reads more like Hornung is sitting around telling you stories (which he did, to the co-author) rather than as a memoir-type thing. A general reader ought to breeze through it in an afternoon.

Packer fans won't find much new here. Oddly, having grown up (age 3 on, I guess) in Wisconsin I was never a big Packer fan until fairly recently, into the 1990s. In their 1960s glory years I was still too young to really pay attention to football. Mostly.

But by the time I was really cognizant of football, the Packers sucked. They pretty much sucked throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In the 1970s, I was a Vikings guy -- sacrilege! -- mostly because I, um, liked their helmets. And they were "The Purple People Eaters". And they were good back then. I also liked the Cowboys. I didn't get that from my family; my dad was a college football fan (Alabama) and my mom didn't care too much about football. the rest of the relatives and friends were all Packerholics though. Nowadays, I still don't follow pro ball all that much, but I follow the Packers as much as possible. they played out here in Seattle last fall/winter and, of course, it snowed. I didn't go to the game though.

Anyway, back to the book. I didn't know the Packers were really sucky before Lombardi took over either. Lombardi was really regarded as an icon around Wisconsin. I vaguely remember when he left, but I really remember when he died. It's one of those "Do you remember where you were when. . ." moments. I saw Chuck Ramsey of Channel 2 (WBAY, CBS then) just come on the TV and just say very solemnly "Vince Lombardi has died." I was still too young to really "get it" but I knew it was a sad thing. (I remember the Edmund Fitzgerald the same way)

So if you see it cheap, I say go ahead and get it if you're into the Packers or that era of football in general.