A Professional Amateur in the World of Big-Time Hockey
George Plimpton takes to the ice with the Boston Bruins in this memorable portrait of the rough-and-tumble world of professional ice hockey
After forays into American football, golf and the world of professional boxing, George Plimpton accepts his riskiest assignment yet: taking to the ice as goalie for his beloved National Hockey League team, the Boston Bruins. Signing a release holding the Bruins blameless if he should meet with injury or worse, his initiation into the league’s toughest tribe begins. But when the Bruins find themselves up against the equally fearsome Philadelphia Flyers, a mere five minutes in the rink can seem an eternity.
Told with Plimpton’s characteristic humour and insight, Open Net is at once a celebration of the thrills and grace of the greatest sport on ice, and a probing meditation into the hopes and fears of every man.
“A season with the Boston Bruins is the basis for Plimpton's absorbing personal report ... A winning entertainment for fans of sports, told with warmth and integrity”
“[Plimpton's] sojourn with the Bruins in training camp culminated in a five-minute stint in goal against the Philadelphia Flyers ... Plimpton tries valiantly to acquire the skills of the position and comes to his moment of truth”
“Plimpton’s charm proves irresistible. Once again, he gets the athletes to like him and to share with him their fears and oddest memories”
New York Times
“With his gentle, ironic tone, and unwillingness to take himself too seriously, along with Roger Angell, John Updike and Norman Mailer he made writing about sports something that mattered”
“What drives these books, and has made them so popular, is Plimpton’s continuous bond-making with the reader and the comedy inherent in his predicament. He is the Everyman, earnests and frail, wandering in a world of supermen, beset by fears of catastrophic violence and public humiliation, yet gamely facing it all in order to survive and tell the tale… A prodigious linguistic ability is on display throughout, with a defining image often appended at the end of a sentence like a surprise dessert.”
Timothy O'Grady, Times Literary Supplement