They said it couldn’t be done.
It wasn’t possible. Nobody’d done it, and you weren’t going to be the first. Try all you want, it ain’t happenin.’
That’s what they all said, and they were wrong.
Have you ever been faced with naysayers who don’t know what they’re talking about? When Warren Moon said he wanted to be an NFL quarterback, some said it could never be. But Moon wouldn’t listen. In the new book “Never Give Up on Your Dream” (with Don Yaeger), Moon talks about his life, football, and being the first African-American quarterback inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
From the time he was 10 years old and playing Pop Warner football in his Los Angeles neighborhood, Warren Moon knew he wanted to be a quarterback. A QB made things happen. Moon was raised to be a leader, the “man of the house” after his father died. Being a leader as a pro quarterback was all he dreamed.
But there seemed to be a barrier, and Moon thought it might be the color of his skin. Most quarterbacks at the time were White, and—although some coaches were supportive—Moon says that he experienced racism, which shocked him.
Few could deny his talent. Moon had a “strong arm” and he knew he could play. So in the NFL draft following graduation, Moon was “stunned” to learn that he was passed up by the league. By that time, though, he’d signed up to play football in Canada for the CFL. It was a chance to hone his game.
Moon remembers feeling “at home” in Edmonton, but he was ever-eager to come back to the States. When the NFL came knocking, he was ready —eventually playing for Houston, Seattle, Minnesota and Kansas City. Despite that he never got a Super Bowl ring— a deep regret—Moon is, today, the only player ever inducted into both the Pro Football and the Canadian Football Halls of Fame.
Despite several incidences of tedious repetition (Strong arm. Yeah. We got it), “Never Give Up on Your Dream” isn’t a bad book—if you’re a football fan.
Pigskin fans will drool over Moon’s stories and recollections, the excitement he relates of the games he’s played, and the astounding long path he took to reach a career pinnacle that should be the envy of every player or future player. In these stories, Moon grabs fans by their replication jerseys and brings them right down on the field.
Alas, for readers who aren’t diehard fans, this book is going to be hard to get through. Moon writes briefly about his childhood, and only just a little about his personal life; not much, in either case, to satisfy someone who wants more memoir.
If you never miss a football game, you won’t want to miss this book, either, because it’s written for you. If you’re not a major fan, though, skip it. “Never Give Up on Your Dream” will be hard for you to get done.
(“Never Give Up on Your Dream” by Warren Moon with Don Yaeger, DaCapo Press, $25, 264 pages.)
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