Gary Myers, the New York Daily News football writer who lives in Westchester, is peeling back the curtain behind the relationships between NFL quarterbacks and their fathers.
"My First Coach: Inspiring Stories of NFL Quarterbacks and Their Dads," was released last month. The Pleasantville resident is hosting a book signing at Scattered Books at 29 King Street in Chappaqua on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
The book is geared toward middle school and high school students, with each chapter having a life lesson.
"At one point John Elway was a 10-year-old kid who may or may not have had NFL aspirations, just like any kid in Chappaqua in that same position," Myers said. "The relationship he had with his father is no different than the average kid around here. It's something they can relate to."
Myers discusses quarterbacks like Phil Simms, who grew up with an alcoholic father with seven siblings, always struggling to pay the bills. The boys would deliver the local newspaper while the girls made breakfast while the parents went to work.
Derek Carr's family uprooted them to Houston when his brother, David, was drafted by the Texans. Myers also explored Ryan Fitzpatrick's childhood and what allowed him to be so good athletically and also academically that he became the first NFL quarterback to have attended Harvard.
Myers said quarterbacks were happy to open up about their relationship with their dad.
"They kind of embraced it," Myers said. "It was different, they weren't talking about what they did on third down. These guys were open and honest. For Phil Simms, it was gut-wrenching to have to relive his past."
The book was inspired by Myers' bestselling book about the rivalry between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Myers' son, Andrew, enjoyed the chapters about their relationship with their fathers and suggested it be expanded into a full-length book.
"There's really a need for something like this," Myers said. "There are a lot of fiction books about sports, but I just haven't found a lot of non-fiction books for that age group. I figured I would give it a shot and try to come up with something.
Myers' father worked for CBS and was a big sports fan, always taking him to football games, attending his Little League games and playing catch in the backyard. Myers said his passion for writing started in 11th grade when he chose a journalism class over English literature and enjoyed seeing his name in the paper.
"I got a kick out of writing something that people were reading," Myers said. "Plus it got me out of taking English lit."
He later attended Syracuse University, and covered the Dallas Cowboys in the 1980s, before joining the Daily News in 1989.
While writing the book, Myers found there is no playbook for raising an NFL quarterback. Some fathers, like Carr's, offered positive reinforcement while Jameis Winston's father was very hard on his son.
"A father has to know his child and a child has to know his father," Myers said.
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