Love, Zac

Small-Town Football and the Life and Death of an American Boy


By Reid Forgrave

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"Love, Zac is not just a vital contribution to the national conversation about traumatic brain injury in athletes, it’s so beautifully written it belongs on the shelf alongside classic works of literary journalism.” —Jeanne Marie Laskas, New York Times bestselling author of Concussion

In December 2015, Zac Easter, a twenty-four-year-old from small-town Iowa, decided to take his own life rather than continue his losing battle against traumatic brain injuries he had sustained as a high school football player and which led him to develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). For this deeply reported and powerfully moving true story, award-winning writer Reid Forgrave was given access to Zac’s own diaries and was able to speak with Zac’s family, friends, and coaches. He explores Zac’s tight-knit, football-obsessed Midwestern community; he interviews leading brain scientists, psychologists, and sports historians; he takes a deep dive into the triumphs and sins of the sports entertainment industry; and he shows us the fallout from the traditional notions of manhood that football instills. For parents wondering about whether to allow their kids to play football, for players, former players, and fans, for anyone concerned about concussions and sports, this eye-opening, heart-wrenching, and ultimately inspiring story may be one of the most important books they will read.



The Seed

Iowa's capitol building sits on a grassy hill just east of downtown Des Moines. It marks the highest point on the east side of this Midwestern city. Atop the rectangular limestone structure, four smaller copper domes encircle one large dome in the center, which ascends 275 feet above the ground. The large dome is gilded with 150 troy ounces of 23-karat gold leaf. Six intimidating Corinthian columns rise up on each side of the building to ornately designed cornices at the roofline. The architectural message from this enormous edifice, for which the cornerstone was laid in 1871, seems to be this: Respect authority. Nearby is a newly hopping entertainment district that a little more than a decade before had a reputation somewhere between sketchy and abandoned.

Across two parking lots and past an office building is the busy US Highway 69. Get on it and go south: over the Des Moines River, past the car dealerships and the RV dealerships and the mobile home parks and the cheap motels. Pass the car washes and the immigrant-owned small businesses and the storage lockers. Pass the Home Depot and the Walmart Supercenter and the miles of suburban chain restaurants. Soon, the highway hangs left then swings back to the right, and the hills become rolling, the cornfields and forests vast, the chain stores and restaurants gone, the houses much fewer and farther between. I made this drive dozens of times while I lived in Iowa. It was always a calming feeling, the city melting away as rural America opened up before me.

The skies are boundless. Christ Died For Our Sins, 1 Corinthians, reads a road sign. There are silos and grain bins, machine sheds and water towers. There's an ad for a Harley Davidson dealership and a sign for a shooting range. Then, for a dozen miles, there's not much but farm fields, filled with corn and soybeans in the state's rich, silty soil that people here call black gold. This soil is what makes Iowa the place people mean when they talk about the nation's breadbasket, a place disparaged or just plain forgotten about by the coasts but vital to the nation's survival, and to its fractured and diverse national culture. A local clothing store sells a T-shirt with a map of the United States and an arrow pointing to the middle of the country. IOWA, the shirt reads. WAVE THE NEXT TIME YOU FLY OVER!

The highway rises and falls, and soon buildings appear again. A Buick GMC car dealership. Calvary Baptist Church. Newly built suburban developments interrupting those endless miles of farm fields. A meat locker, a bait shop. Three huge cement towers that can store more than two million bushels of grain at Heartland Co-op's facility. The Harley Davidson dealership, right next door to the John Deere dealership. And the National Balloon Museum, a reminder of what Indianola is best known for: a huge annual nine-day hot-air balloon festival each summer, during which nearly a hundred colorful hot-air balloons paint the Iowa skies.

On the edge of this town of sixteen thousand residents, a half hour's drive from the Iowa capital, a small sign—Indianola, Est. 1849—welcomes you to the place where Zac Easter was raised.

Every four years, Iowa becomes a national caricature. Presidential candidates trot through the state to prove themselves worthy during the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses. Iowans like to joke that for one month every four years, the rest of the nation cares about Iowa's problems. Then, Iowans cast their votes, and the nation moves on. On national television news, Iowa is presented as a state of seed-corn hats and hay bales, Carhartt bib overalls and pork-chops-on-a-stick. But the character of this state makes it less a rural anomaly than a bellwether of the Midwest. As a transplant from the East Coast, I found Iowa an understated place, where people are less prone to shouting and more prone to understanding, and where natural beauty can be found not in snowcapped mountains or crashing ocean waves but in the quiet serenity of a summer breeze rustling over a soybean field. And it is a place where the values of the sport of football—of hard work and teamwork, of a community that rallies around a cause, of a faith that each of us is but a small, vital piece in a much grander plan—align perfectly with the values of everyday life.

Now, leave the small town of Indianola and head a few miles into the country. Today is the day of the Iowa Hawkeyes' spring scrimmage, and the university's head football coach is talking on the radio. Like a mellower version of football-mad Alabama, the broadcast of the exhibition game reaches throughout the state of Iowa. As Iowa's coach speaks about the returning players who make up his team's beefy offensive line, drive past the graveyard, past the huge hay bales splotched on coffee-colored fields, past the farm pond where a rowboat is tied to a dock. Cows lounge near a rusting silo. The pavement stops, and the road turns to gravel. A sign reads: HAY FOR SALE. The hills climb and dive next to rows of newly planted corn, an antique windmill, and whitewashed fences that keep in the horses. A teenage boy zips by on his four-wheeler, heading from his family's goat farm toward their house. A cloud of dust encircles you as you turn onto 92nd Lane. A few houses in, on five wooded acres of timber, sits the Easter household, the place where Zac Easter, all-American boy, grew into a man.

Zac as a toddler

They called him Hoad. On Saturday mornings, the three young Easter boys—Myles II was the eldest, then Zac, then Levi—would crowd around the television to watch Garfield and Friends. In the cartoon, Odie was the mutt who was Garfield's best friend. With floppy ears and a tongue that constantly hung out, he was honest, kind, and impossibly energetic. Friends with everyone, he was mischievous yet lovable. A bit goofy, sure, but a truly decent being through and through. And all that stuff about Odie? That was Zac, too. "Zac never stopped running. Everything he did was at full charge," said his mother, Brenda Easter. Over time the name evolved, the way nicknames do—Odie morphing into Hodie, Hodie shrinking to Hoad.

Zac was a sweet, curious kid, always sporting a smile but seemingly programmed to destroy. At eighteen months, he climbed up the curtains, grabbed his grandmother's prized china egg, dropped it, and broke it. As a kid, he went through four of those supposedly unbreakable steel Tonka dump trucks. He broke the first three and then, at age seven, disassembled the fourth, his boundless curiosity spurring him to figure out how the toy worked. At age eight, when an ambulance rushed by his house, siren blaring, Zac pretended to crash his bicycle to see if the ambulance would stop. (It didn't.) The dimpled, boyish face that followed Zac until adulthood seemed to easily get him out of trouble: Who, me? The mischief was mostly harmless but always there. One winter, the family couldn't figure out why the light bulbs on the Christmas tree kept bursting. Faulty wiring? Time to invest in new Christmas lights? Nope. Turned out the cause was Zac, taking swings at the bulbs with a baseball bat.

As he got older, the blast radius got bigger. In the woods surrounding his home, he was Tom Sawyer reborn: undiluted, unleashed, Midwestern middle-class American boy. The Easter family's acreage was just east of a piece of land made somewhat famous for its antique covered bridges—the part of the world where The Bridges of Madison County was filmed. Zac and his friends would head into the woods to play soldier, shooting one another with the plastic pellets of Airsoft toy guns, pretending to be the military heroes of movies they loved like Platoon or The Deer Hunter. He and his brothers would go on hikes to the creek, bringing along an artillery of Black Cat fireworks to blow up minnows and bullfrogs. (An unspoken agreement among Zac's high school friends was that anytime anybody made a trip through neighboring Missouri, where fireworks could be purchased legally, they'd return with $100 or $200 worth of fresh ordnance.) As a teenager, he graduated to the family's Honda Recon ATV, his first taste of real adrenaline, and real recklessness, too. He'd fly through the woods, bank on two wheels, and carve the tightest, fastest semicircles he could. He'd build jumps and hurtle over them. Zac knew these trails by heart. He could almost ride them with his eyes closed. "GODDAMMIT!" his dad would yell from the porch as he watched Zac's close-cropped chestnut hair zip by. And Zac, as always, just kept going. "He really was reckless on that, just wild," his father later recalled. "He was confident he wouldn't wreck, always in control. Honestly, that's what you want on a football team, too."

You weren't a real member of the Easter family if you didn't love guns. The three boys joined their dad on hunts starting when they were five or six. At age nine, each received his first firearm; by that point the boy was trained in gun safety and itching to shoot. The oldest son, Myles II, bagged a six-point buck his very first hunt with his dad. Levi, the youngest, would eventually become the best shot of the three. There was a rhythm to the family's hunting trips: sitting in the tree stand, soaking in the silence, then moving around to rustle deer out from the woods. They'd spread out to be alone, keeping in contact with cell phones, and then they'd get back together. Always they kept an eye out for rattlesnakes.

At the edge of the family's backyard is where the tree line begins. Every night, the boys' father would grab a shotgun and a pistol, rustle up the family's two rat terriers, Tito and Max, and go for a walk in the woods. Not a walk, really. More of a prowl. Myles Easter was looking for targets. Every January he tacks a new blank sheet of paper to the refrigerator. At the top of the sheet are the words KILL LIST. By the end of the year, the kill list is typically filled with more than a hundred animals: deer, squirrels, snakes, muskrats. He takes the list so seriously that he has placed several motion-activated trail cameras out there, so he'll know if a prized big buck, or something even more exotic, has crept into the Easters' territory. The boys would join their dad on his backyard hunts as well as hunts on the family land nearby. The best hunts would enter into family lore—or, with a perfectly placed shot and a bit of luck, onto a sacred spot on the wall in their living room with its vaulted ceiling. There, the family's top kills lived on for eternity—the animals staring out from the two-story whitewashed drywall, with the help of taxidermy.

One of the favorite Easter family hunting stories dates back to when Zac was a teenager. He and his father spotted a rabbit in the backyard. Zac raced inside and grabbed a .50-caliber muzzleloader, a huge rifle fit more for the Wild West era than the twenty-first century. Zac being Zac, he ran back outside and jammed way too much gunpowder into the rifle. He fired: BOOM! Their ears rang. Pieces of rabbit flew up to the tree line, with a bunny carcass spinning in the air. The Easter men couldn't stop laughing for the rest of the night. Brenda Easter just sighed. This was her life as the only woman in a home of four testosterone-juiced men.

Zac as a young boy.

A forty-minute drive away is the Easter family timber, some eighty acres of wooded hills that aren't suitable for farming. What they are suitable for is world-class deer hunting. And from the first day of deer season until the last each year—from right after Thanksgiving until right after New Year's—Myles Easter and his three boys would spend every free moment roaming the family land. They would wake up well before sunrise, and Myles would cook up a breakfast of bacon and eggs. They'd jump into his Ford pickup and drive to the timber, sipping coffee the entire way. Sometimes they got a deer. Sometimes they didn't. Either way—from when he was a young boy until he was a college graduate—these were the happiest days of Zac Easter's life.

Two things mattered most among the Easter men. The first was hunting. The second was football. Zac's father had fallen in love with the sport as a youth and dedicated much of his life to it, as a high school and college coach as well as his sons' biggest supporter. And football was something that Zac Easter seemed perfectly attuned to. The sport captured the imagination of all three Easter boys almost from the womb. But Zac was fearless, the toughest dude around.

In Zac's developing young mind, he was more superhero than human. Zac Easter, you see, believed he was invincible. He was confident he could push his limits to the very edge yet always stay in control. His ethos was a controlled type of chaos. He was never the most gifted athlete on the field, and his body wasn't the best suited for the sport. He worked on his physique, spending hours upon hours in the gym. Compared to the more hulking players, however, he was still fairly small. But it wasn't his body that mattered as much as his mind. The way he thought—or the way he often didn't think, instead throwing all caution into the wind—meant that he could beat you through sheer force of will because he was willing to take a risk with his body that you weren't willing to take.

Zac Easter's brain, it seemed, had been put on this earth to play football.

The moment when football fully captured the American imagination can be hard to pinpoint. We can definitively say that the seed of our national obsession was first planted in Brunswick, New Jersey, on November 6, 1869, four years after the end of the Civil War and the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, when Rutgers and Princeton (then known as the College of New Jersey) played a sport that was a derivative of rugby. It was later billed as the first collegiate football game. (Rutgers won, 6–4.) But it wasn't like the game of football was invented one year and had spread like wildfire by the next. The history of football, that most violent and disciplined of sports, progressed in fits and starts, and for most of its first few decades, it was played in the shadow of the more bucolic American pastime of baseball.

What we can say with absolute certainty today is that a century and a half after the sport was conceived, football has become an essential part of the American landscape and distilled the American psyche (in all its contradictory complexity) more than any other sport. The NFL has reached $15 billion in annual revenue, a number that is greater than the gross domestic product of some seventy countries and the largest of any sports league in the world. If the NFL were a publicly traded entity—legally, it considers itself a trade association with the thirty-two team owners functioning as its shareholders—it would rank among the top two hundred companies in America in terms of revenue, in the same ballpark as Visa, General Mills, and the Marriott hotel chain.

And that's only the professional version of the sport. The twenty-five most valuable college football programs bring in $2.5 billion in revenue annually, and Forbes reported in 2019 that the most profitable collegiate team, the Texas A&M Aggies, brought in an average of $147 million in annual revenue over the past three years. When the new College Football Playoff held an auction for twelve years of television rights, ESPN's winning bid came to $7.3 billion. That's $7.3 billion for the right to televise just seven games a year for a dozen years. As Gilbert M. Gaul noted in his book Billion-Dollar Ball: A Journey through the Big Money of College Football, the football program at the University of Texas has a higher profit margin than ExxonMobil or Apple. More than a million Americans play high school football annually, a number that's dwarfed by the estimated seventy-five million Americans who play so-called fantasy football, which involves fans choosing individual players for their "team" and using those players' statistics to compete against friends' teams to win money.

Zac started youth football in third grade, his father as coach.

A few decades ago, it was reasonable to argue whether baseball or football was the favorite American pastime. This argument can no longer be honestly debated. Football has become less of a sport and more of an ingrained feature of American life. As a character in the Will Smith film Concussion put it so memorably: "The NFL owns a day of the week. The same day the Church used to own. Now, it's theirs." In modern-day America, football is as much religion as sport.

But when was football's tipping point? In those 150-some years between that day when a hundred or so people attended the Rutgers–College of New Jersey game of 1869 and the modern-day spectacle of 114.4 million Americans (more than a third of the US population) tuning in to see the New England Patriots defeat the Seattle Seahawks, 28–24, in Super Bowl XLIX on February 1, 2015, in the most-watched television broadcast in American history, at which point did football first solidify its iron grip on the American sporting imagination? Was it in 1880, when collegiate teams at the College of New Jersey and Yale decided to stage a contest of this new and exciting and most importantly American sport in New York City on Thanksgiving Day, turning this revered national holiday into a spectacle of sport? Was it when President Teddy Roosevelt threatened in 1905 to ban the game, which led to rule reforms and the formation of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, giving the sport an organizational structure? Was it when the forward pass was invented, which helped American football evolve beyond rugby to become a far more exciting, multifaceted game of military-like strategy? Was it the development of star professional players such as Jim Thorpe and Bronko Nagurski? Or was it during the 1972 playoffs when the Pittsburgh Steelers' Franco Harris caught an errant ball and ran it in for a touchdown in one of the most famous plays in NFL history, which came to be known as the Immaculate Reception?

While each of these were defining moments in the sport's march from a savage and unorganized game that was really little more than hazing for college freshmen to this national religion, none can quite stack up to the impact of the game that was played on December 28, 1958. It's fitting that this game happened at Yankee Stadium, "The House That Ruth Built." Football marched into the most iconic baseball venue in the world and proclaimed during this one stormy afternoon in the Bronx that it, not baseball, was the new king of American sports. It was the NFL championship game between the workmanlike New York Giants and the much more glamorous Baltimore Colts, and it was watched by forty-five million fans nationwide on NBC. It featured names that would become synonymous with the sport over the next half century: The Colts' quarterback was Johnny Unitas, nicknamed "the Golden Arm" and still considered one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever have played the game. The Giants' running back was Frank Gifford, whose Hall of Fame football heroics were later surpassed by the celebrity that came with a twenty-seven-year career as a broadcaster for ABC's NFL Monday Night Football—and who was posthumously diagnosed with the same degenerative brain disease that befell Zac Easter.

Manning the sidelines for the Giants were two assistant coaches who were little known at the time but would soon become icons of the game. One was defensive assistant coach Tom Landry, who'd go on to coach "America's Team," the Dallas Cowboys, for twenty-nine years and win two Super Bowls in the process. The other was offensive assistant coach Vince Lombardi, who would become one of the most admired coaches in American sports history as he led the Green Bay Packers to win the first two Super Bowls, in 1967 and 1968. Lombardi's aphorisms became synonymous with the machismo culture of both football and postwar America: "It's not whether you get knocked down—it's whether you get up." "The man who wins is the man who thinks he can." "If you can walk, you can run. No one is ever hurt. Hurt is in your mind." Nearly fifty years after Lombardi's untimely death in 1970, Zac Easter would make the seven-hour pilgrimage from his family's home in Iowa to the famous frozen tundra of Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers were his favorite team. And Lombardi was his favorite coach. Even though others in his family were fans of one of the Packers' rivals, the Minnesota Vikings, what Lombardi stood for—toughness, dedication, and stoicism as the traits that define manhood—was powerful enough that it warranted a framed Lombardi photo hanging in the Easters' basement.

The Colts-Giants championship game on that cold, blustery December afternoon in 1958 was a historic sporting battle. As Michael MacCambridge detailed in his book America's Game: The Epic Story of How Pro Football Captured a Nation, it was a back-and-forth fight from the opening kickoff, filled with exciting miscues and jaw-dropping plays. Unitas fumbled on the Colts' first drive, but on the very next play the Giants' quarterback Don Heinrich fumbled the ball right back to the Colts. Not to be outdone in the quarterbacking struggles, the future Hall of Famer Unitas promptly threw another interception. On the Colts' next drive, Unitas seemed to have the Colts heading in the right direction when he completed a sixty-yard pass to Lenny Moore, but then Giants linebacker Sam Huff, one of a record seventeen future Hall of Famers involved in this game, blocked the Colts' field goal attempt.

By the end of the first half, after Unitas threw a fifteen-yard touchdown pass to Raymond Berry, the Colts held a 14–3 lead. At the beginning of the third quarter, after the Colts turned the ball over at the one-yard line on the doorstep of a big touchdown, the Giants pulled off one of the most exciting plays in NFL history. Charlie Conerly, who had replaced Heinrich as the Giants' quarterback, took the snap deep in his own territory. He faked a handoff, and it looked like a broken play as Gino Marchetti, the Colts' hulking defensive end from a coal-mining town in West Virginia, broke past blockers and ran straight at Conerly. Conerly threw an off-balance pass from his back foot as the Colts' lineman jumped in his face. Somehow, the pass made it to midfield, where Giants wide receiver Kyle Rote caught the ball, shed a tackle, and then streaked toward the end zone. At the twenty-five-yard line, Rote was hit from behind. He fumbled, but the fumble was improbably picked up by Giants running back Alex Webster, who ran it all the way to the one-yard line. The Giants scored on the next play, and momentum swung their way.

Nobody could turn their heads from the drama on the field. Marchetti broke his ankle during a play in the fourth quarter, but he wouldn't leave the field to get it treated. By this point, his Colts were losing, 17–14, with just under two minutes left in the game. Marchetti watched from a stretcher on the sidelines as Gifford nearly made a first down, a gain that would have sealed the game for the Giants. But referees controversially ruled Gifford was down before the first-down marker, and the Colts had a chance to tie things up. Unitas methodically marched his Colts down the field, and they tied up the game with a field goal from the thirteen-yard line with seven seconds left. At his family's home in New York, six-year-old Bob Costas stared at the television in wonder as the game went into overtime. It was the first sporting event the future sportscasting legend remembers watching on television.

It wasn't just because it was a one-game spectacle that Costas and millions more Americans would remember this NFL championship game for as long as they lived. It was because they were witnessing, in real time, this sport claim its dominion over modern American culture.

The modern age was synonymous with post–World War II corporate America. The undisputed victor of the war, the United States saw a prosperity boom after 1945, and participating in and viewing sports, whether live or on television, became a preferred way to spend that extra cash and free time. What's more, football seemed perfectly suited to a generation of soldiers who had returned from the battlefields of World War II: Veterans valued the discipline, violence, and game planning that has long made football the most militaristic of sports. In fact, football is in many ways a sporting allegory for the type of land-grabbing wars that marked the rise of human civilizations. Think of how football works: One team is trying to gain ground on another team. A group of blockers—foot soldiers who do their work in the trenches—clear the path for the team to move the ball forward. A quarterback is called a field general. The passing game is called the air attack, a long pass called a bomb, a short pass a bullet. Multiple defensive players rushing headlong at the quarterback is a blitz, stemming from the German military's blitzkrieg of World War II. When both teams line up before a snap, they're lining up in formations. As the military-industrial complex built up during the Cold War, the militaristic, us-versus-them nature of football played right into the American psyche. It is not just some coincidence that eleven days after the beginning of the first Gulf War in January 1991, Super Bowl XXV was infused with patriotism: from Whitney Houston's galvanizing rendition of the national anthem, to the tiny American flag each fan was given upon entering Tampa Stadium, to the taped halftime address by President George H. W. Bush, during which he referred to the Gulf War as his Super Bowl. If the writer George Orwell once referred to Olympic and international sports as "war minus the shooting," then football is that view's apotheosis.

But there was another aspect of football that was on display during that NFL championship game three days after Christmas in 1958: the power of television. Televisions were becoming ubiquitous in American households during the 1950s. In 1948, 172,000 American households had televisions, but by 1950, nearly four million American homes did. A decade later that number was a stunning forty-six million, more than a tenfold increase. And at a time when America was primed for a sport with a national following instead of the more regionalized sport of baseball, there was no better sport for television than the back-and-forth pitched horizontal battles of football. As James Michener noted in his book Sports in America, football and television have an "almost symbiotic" relationship. By the 1970s, the Super Bowl would become an unofficial holiday, and announcers like Frank Gifford and Howard Cosell would become celebrities.

While televisions fueled the growth of football, they affected baseball in the opposite fashion. In 1948, shortly after televisions were introduced to a mass American audience, baseball's live attendance was twenty-one million. Five years later, in 1953, that attendance had dipped dramatically, to 14.3 million, as more and more baseball-loving Americans chose to stay home and watch the games from the comfort of their sofas instead of heading to the ballpark. Meanwhile, television actually proved a boon to live football attendance: Average attendance nearly doubled from 1949


  • “What an accomplishment. Brimming with compassion and insight, Reid Forgrave has written an artful and intimate portrait of a former high school football star that travels ambitiously into themes of masculinity, suffering, and the nature of a national obsession. Love, Zac is not just a vital contribution to the national conversation about traumatic brain injury in athletes, it’s so beautifully written it belongs on the shelf alongside classic works of literary journalism.”
    Jeanne Marie Laskas, New York Times bestselling author of Concussion

    “Sportswriter Forgrave stuns in this moving debut . . . This unflinching exposé is one anyone who loves the sport should pick up.”
    Publishers Weekly

    “The concussion epidemic has spread devastation to players in the less visible strata of the sport, especially to high school players like Zac Easter. Love, Zac shows the totality of that damage in full. Someone should staple this book to Roger Goodell’s forehead.”
    Drew Magary, author of The Hike and The Postmortal  

    “An essential work of sports reporting, Love, Zac explores the dark side of small-town football culture and the warning signs of CTE, interspersed with passages from Zac’s diary and interviews with his family and friends.”
    New York Post

    “An intelligent, provocative tale that will give pause to many parents of football players at any level.”
    Kirkus Reviews

    A tragic, moving story that will linger with readers of sports and biographies in general.”
    Library Journal
    “A heartbreaking biography [that] underscores the moral ambiguity of supporting life-threatening sports.”
    Shelf Awareness

    “A monumental achievement of deep reporting and expert storytelling. One question echoes from every page of this book: What happened to Zac Easter? In seeking the answers, Reid Forgrave has written a detective story, a love story, and a parable about football, pain and the consequences of the bedrock version of American masculinity.”
    Michael Sokolove, author of The Last Temptation of Rick Pitino and Drama High

    “An in-depth exploration not only of football and its risks, but of the empty-calorie culture into which we are driving young men. It will leave you unable to ever watch a football game—at any level—the same way again.”
    Brian Alexander, author of Glass House

On Sale
Sep 8, 2020
Page Count
288 pages
Algonquin Books

Reid Forgrave

Reid Forgrave

About the Author

Reid Forgrave writes about sports and other topics for GQ, the New York Times Magazine, and Mother Jones, among other publications. He has covered the NFL and college football for and CBS Sports, and he currently writes for the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. The article in which he first wrote about Zac Easter is included in  Best American Sports Writing 2018 . A past life found him working at the Des Moines Register in Iowa, where he wrote long-form narrative journalism and covered the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses. Forgrave lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two sons. Love, Zac is his first book.    

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