Reminiscent of Frederick Exley's A Fan's Notes and James Dodson's Final Rounds, First and Last Seasons is not only a courageously confessional memoir but a work of resounding originality-a Rust Belt requiem for a father written by the black sheep son he leaves behind.
Dan McGraw did not plan to go home to help his father die. To the thirty-nine-year-old Texas-based senior editor for U.S. News & World Report, Cleveland, Ohio, was a million miles away. Dan was the prodigal middle son within a large Irish-Catholic family, and life never really got going until he was far away from the city and his dominant father, Richard. But the gravitational pull of his hometown grew stronger as each year passed by. The final tug home came when the NFL announced that the Cleveland Browns football franchise would be resurrected for the 1999-2000 season. All McGraws and Clevelanders are die-hard Sunday afternoon football fans, and Dan decided to take a leave of absence and cover the Browns' first season. Soon thereafter, Richard was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Dan came home to a press pass and the caretaking chores for a father intent on dying the way he lived, on his own terms.
First and Last Seasons is a heart-wrenching work about fathers and sons, the binding influence of community, and how emotionally disconnected men find a common language in sports. It is also a poignantly funny and charming celebration of one man's life and how his sacrifices and mistakes helped his son find the best part of himself. A beautifully written, intensely personal story, this cathartic chronicle of how Dan participated in his father's final season is sure to speak to the millions of fathers and sons who have trouble finding the voice to express their love for one another.
About Dan McGraw
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Published October 10, 2000
Biographies & Memoirs, Sports & Outdoors, Parenting & Relationships.