Cowser, Bob, Jr. 1971(?)–

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Cowser, Bob, Jr. 1971(?)–

PERSONAL: Born c. 1971, in Martin, TN; son of Bob (a professor) and Mary Ellen (a professor) Cowser; married; children: Jake (stepson). Education: Loyola University New Orleans, B.A., Marquette University, M.A.; University of Nebraska, Ph.D.

ADDRESSES: Office—Department of English, St. Lawrence University, 23 Romoda Dr., Canton, NY 13617. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Educator and writer. St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY, 1998–, associate professor of English, coordinator of creative-writing program, and interim director of writing program; workshop leader at St. Lawrence's Young Writers Conference.

AWARDS, HONORS: Award from Academy of American Poets.

WRITINGS:

Dream Season: A Professor Joins America's Oldest Semi-Pro Football Team (memoir), Atlantic Monthly Press (New York, NY), 2004.

Author's essays and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, including Creative Nonfiction, Sonora Review, Sycamore Review, Missouri Review, American Literary Review, and Prairie Schooner. Work has also appeared in an anthology edited by Lee Gutkind.

WORK IN PROGRESS: A book about the 1979 abduction and murder of one of the author's grade-school classmates.

SIDELIGHTS: An English professor rather than a professional athlete, Bob Cowser, Jr. nonetheless tried out for and made a semi-pro football team and spent the summer of 2001 playing defensive end. He recounts the experience in his book Dream Season: A Professor Joins America's Oldest Semi-Pro Football Team.

A former linebacker in high school, Cowser decides to try out for the Watertown Red and Black after arguing with his stepson about football. After being told that he was not truly knowledgeable about the sport because watching the game is not the same as playing it, as the teen did at the time, Cowser was determined to play again. He made the team essentially because he was willing to show up for practices and games. Soon he was not only reacquainting himself with a tough sport and its physical demands but also with the disdain of his blue-collar teammates, who perceived him as an intellectual outsider. Cowser eventually earned the respect of his teammates on the field but quits after the season was over and started the Saint Lawrence Valley Trailblazers—a team at St. Lawrence University.

In addition to his experiences playing with the Watertown Red and Black, in Dream Season Cowser reminisces about his experiences playing football at Martin-Westview High School in Tennessee and reflects on the coaches there who inspired him. Writing in Sports Illustrated, Charles Hirshberg felt the book's title is "false advertising": the team is not actually a semi-pro effort because nobody actually gets paid. Nevertheless, Hirshberg added, "his book has much to offer." A Publishers Weekly contributor called "Cowser's style endearing, even if the book doesn't necessarily draw readers into his adventure." A reviewer writing in Kirkus Reviews noted "Cowser's writing has that light-handed, knowing touch, elevating a violent sport into a thing of gratifying harmonies."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Cowser, Bob, Jr., Dream Season: A Professor Joins America's Oldest Semi-Pro Football Team, Atlantic Monthly Press (New York, NY), 2004.

PERIODICALS

Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2004, review of Dream Season, p. 614.

Publishers Weekly, August 16, 2004, review of Dream Season, p. 51.

Sports Illustrated, November 1, 2004, Charles Hirshberg, review of Dream Season, p. Z12.

ONLINE

St. Lawrence University Web site, http://web.stlawu.edu/ (March 24, 2005), "Bob Cowser, Jr."