Research Hurts

Despite knowing better, I thought I could write a book without research.  Research would slow me down, and I wanted to bust this thing out.  So, I started writing.  Then I realized I don’t know anything.  Well, at least not much about football and one of my main characters is a former football player.  I couldn’t create a believable character without knowing more about his sport.

My husband is a football fan.  He played in high school, and follows college ball.  I started stalking him around the house firing questions his way.  I emailed him at work.  I thought he was enjoying being part of my project until he sent me a link to a women’s football clinic being put on by the Washington State University football team and told me to sign up.

The clinic was yesterday, and I was thrilled that I ended up knowing quite a few ladies there.  We were served lots of wine and beer and then sent to the indoor practice facility (it was a cold and windy day on the Palouse).  They divided us into groups and we rotated through stations manned by the players. Each station had some sort of drill.  Thankfully, most of them did not require footballs.

In my defense, I was the girl who always got socked in the face by balls on the playground and in PE class.  Apparently nothing has changed in the last twenty years.  The last drill I participated in had a ball.  We were to shuffle sideways, then run backwards and catch a pass.  Okay, there is no nice way to say it.  I. Was. Drunk.  This wouldn’t have gone well sober either.  I shuffled.  I jogged backwards.  I saw the guy pull back his right arm and launch the ball.  I think he must be used to throwing to taller people because that ball ended up drilling right into my nose.  Blood gushed everywhere and I was escorted to the trainer on the sideline.  I got to put in a nose tampon and one of the player’s wives helped clean me up with baby wipes.  Needless to say, I decided to stay put for the rest of the event.

This morning I have a fat nose, a fat upper lip, and a story to tell.  I don’t know that I learned that much about the game of football, but I did get to talk to some ladies whose lives are governed by the game.  My journalistic spirit was alive as I asked questions and began to rethink my story based on their answers.  My writing will be better because I took the time to do my homework.

Do you have any colorful research stories?

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