The Life of Emmitt Smith

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The life of Emmitt Smith, star running back of the two-time Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys, reads like a Horatio Alger story: Smith grew up in Florida in a poor but loving two-parent family; he stays out of trouble, respects education, and devotes much spare time to charity work. There’s nothing not to like about Emmitt Smith unless you’re charged with tackling him. So, what does Emmitt have to say about his life? He always loved football. He loves his family, and he works hard and deserves respect and pay commensurate with his performance. We know--because he tells us so--that he’s scored many a touchdown in his day. Is this a good sports autobiography? Yes and no. Yes, because Smith’s joie de vivre is so evident. No, because he’s so young, and his life has been a one-note song of happiness. But one can’t expect him to invent tragedy or controversy. He seems like a nice young man, and his book will be in big demand with high-school Emmit-tators. As an author, Emmitt is a fine role model. Smith offers a straightforward account of the heady world of professional football as he describes his recent seasons as the premier running back of ``America’s Team,’’ the Dallas Cowboys. In telling how a poor Florida boy became a multimillion-dollar star, Smith shows that modern football plays many roles in America today: It’s an art, a thing of magic, a way of life--but most of all a gritty and competitive business (and for stars like Smith, a lucrative profession). Smith talks about his sandlot heroics, his childhood dream of becoming a star for the Cowboys, and the constant doubts his size raised about his ability to compete (in childhood he was too big, as a pro too small, said his detractors). Smith’s account of his football career is, however, a success story from the beginning: He was a standout in high school and at the University of Florida. Dismayed, he says, by the instability of the Florida program, Smith left prior to his senior year in order to participate...
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