“Bleachers” Reminds Bush of Football Days

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Photo M. Hall

Isabel Giovannetti, Staff Writer

Stony faces of concentration adorn the field. One by one, players step up to the line of scrimmage. The quarterback shouts the play. Hike. The football soars across the field.

Principal Johnny Bush knows that sequence of events like the back of his hand.

Bush started his career in football in high school and continued to play throughout his college years as a defensive back for Concordian Lutheran University.

“[In college], I felt like I had to play football to keep my scholarship… high school was more about just being a kid and playing,” recalled Bush.

Today, Bush remains surrounded by the culture of high school football. After years involved in the sport, he is very aware of its benefits, as well as its shortcomings.

Bleachers by John Grisham is a novel that Bush can identify with, as it recognizes these aspects of the student-athlete experience.

The book tells the tale of a high school football coach, Eddie Rake, and his relationship with his players. The main character is former star quarterback, Neely Crenshaw who only returns to the place of his glory days for the funeral of his admired coach.

“It gave me an opportunity to look back that many years ago… It makes me wonder whatever happened to the players and the coaches.”

Throughout the novel, questions arise about the player-coach dynamic and what it means to be a young athlete.

“Sometimes we push these kids to be athletes and we forget to push them to be good citizens,” said Bush.

Not only does Bush think the novel is relatable, but he recommends it to any student involved in a sport.

The story reminded Bush that “they always think it’s about wins and losses, but it’s really about becoming a good citizen.”