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  • Writer's pictureAlison Conigliaro-Hubbard

Book Review: From Glory to Grit: 'Once a Giant' Reveals the Heart of a Team in Victory and Adversity 🏈❤️📘


The 1986 Superbowl-winning New York Football Giants team is important to me for many reasons. I was 17 and it was the first Superbowl (played January 25, 1987) win for my team. First time we saw a QB go to Disney. First Gatorade dousing of a coach in the big game. More importantly, my grandpa got to see the Giants win the big game. He had been the first season ticket holder in the family since the earliest days at the Polo Grounds. He would pass away in July 1987, and before he would pass on those tickets to my mom and Aunt - he got to see the Giants win the Superbowl! 🌟👴🏈


I finished my February book early, so I decided to pick up Gary Myers’, ‘Once a Giant’, with a goal of banging it out in the last 10 days of the month. Made it in 11. 📚🗓️


It’s not a ‘leadership’ book per se, but a valuable one for anyone interested in the game, or the history that laid the foundation for today. 🏟️📜


Sure, it speaks about the strong leadership of Bill Parcells, Harry Carson, and George Martin. But mostly it speaks to an amazing team of unique individuals (some might call them characters) who came together as ONE unified force, and who, to this day - remain that unified TEAM: a group of men who have had one another’s backs through so many tests and trials and post-football challenges. 🤝🏆


This isn’t a book about Xs and Os. It’s a book about the men who played the game at a time when the paychecks were modest, when there was team loyalty since the cap had not yet come to be, and there were fewer rules and much harder hits (on the field and off it). 🏈💥☠️


It shares storylines we don’t read about in the click-bait headlines and humanizes the characters - the ones modern fans have all but turned into pawns in the ‘what have you done for me lately,’ Fantasy-first perspective on the game.


And for a fan of any team or sport, this book forces us to remember that we’re talking about real people with their own strengths and demons - whose first job was football. 🗞️🤔🏈


And for me, a Giants fan who went to those mid-80s training camps and Sunday games with Dad, and who can also call some of these men personal friends (shouts out to Joe, my friend of almost 40 years, and Mark), the book reconnected me to the heart of football, and the team that indoctrinated me to my lifelong joy for the game and the many lessons it teaches us - if we look closely enough. 🏈❤️📖


 

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