The Second Half: A Gay American Football Story
by Scott D. Pomfret
Release date: June 12th 2016
Published by: Lethe Press
Page count: 286 pages
Division I college football coach Peyton Stone has a secret. It’s not so much that he’s gay. It’s that he’s fallen in love with his older Iraq-War-vet-turned-starting-QB Brady Winter. Willing to deny himself for the sake of the Golden Eagles football team, Peyton focuses helping his team score touchdowns, but when he discovers the attraction is mutual, he jumps in with both feet.
For each, the stakes are high: bowls, limelight, press, and the NFL. But Peyton and Brady find time during the season to carve out their own private and sexy refuge. Only jealous whispers force the head coach to see what he didn’t want to see and he tears the two apart. It’s only when Brady’s war injuries threaten his health that Peyton reluctantly returns to the team — under cover! The two concoct a plan to pass off Peyton as Brady at the bowl game, thereby preserving Brady’s health and perhaps earning a national championship. Will anyone notice the difference? Does anyone really want to? Most of all, can the pair’s sense of honor outlast the deception?
The most unusual novel I’ve read this month! If I could use one word to describe all of the characters in this novel it would be, unapologetic. Every single character is self-absorbed. They each have their motives for what they do, how they are, how they speak, and how they act. Some of the behavior is rather appalling. There’s misogyny, homophobia, heterophobia, and self-loathing sprinkled throughout the different personalities. They’re all interesting and bring a bit of realism to Peyton’s story.
Peyton isn’t much. Yes, he isn’t much. A former football player that let his first love (or more like infatuation) pretty much ruin his chance of playing professional football. A closet case and kind of spineless. Peyton comes across as self-absorbed as the rest, but once you really get into the story you realize he’s just lost. Not only lost, but a big oaf of a guy that just wants to live his life as a gay, poetry fanatic, football player. He became quite endearing as the story progressed.
He also desperately wants the quarterback.
As offensive coach, he shouldn’t fraternize with a player. He knows he’s doing everything wrong, as he always does, yet he just can help himself. That’s how Peyton loses his job but gains a boyfriend, Brady. The starting quarterback!
Things with Brady spiral out of control as Brady is sideline with a potentially life threatening injury and they decide to masquerade Peyton for Brady. It helps that they look so much alike. Which should be creepy but really, it’s just part of all the wheels and cogs necessary to make this harebrained idea plausible.
The story ends perfectly because in life not all things work out. Someone has to lose something for someone else to be the winner. Right as Peyton and Brady are getting in deeper in the charade, there’s a big shift. It’s no longer what Peyton wants but what Brady needs. Peyton finally figures it all out and that’s what made the journey through this story worthwhile.
A truly unique football story. I loved the play on the two lead protagonists names. I could totally appreciate the irony of the name choices. Sadly, I feel that this story is kind of true representation of society today. The younger kids, heck even the older generation like Hackett, are all just in it for themselves for their own goal for their own victory for their own fulfillment.
RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!