The Walk-On by Richard Podkowski
315 pages, Paperback
Published February 23, 2023
Taken from Goodreads: In the twilight of his NFL career as a middle linebacker for the Chicago Storm, Mike “the Steelman” Stalowski masks his physical pain and mental anguish with alcohol and painkillers. The fan favorite has a rebel image and a notorious reputation, and he plays a violent gridiron game fueled by inner rage.
While estranged from his wife and living in the fishbowl environment of professional sports, he unexpectedly meets the fresh-out-of-college Kim Richardson. She sees through Mike’s star persona to who he really is—a kind guy from the Southeast Side of Chicago who has never forgotten his humble blue-collar roots. The lives of the star-crossed, seemingly mismatched couple collide during a whirlwind romance that culminates in a tragic series of events.
The Walk-On is a timeless tale of love and loss that explores the consequences of personal decisions and the rewards of faith, redemption, and hope.
My Thoughts: I chose to read this book because it was set in Chicago, and I love to read book set in places that I am familiar with. While I am not a football fan, I know enough about the game to enjoy reading about it.
The Walk-On is not a book only about football. It is a book about the lengths a player will go to just to continue playing a game (any game) they love. The pain they will withstand, the treatments they will undergo, and the way the game will change their lives.
The Steelman, aka Mike, was living his dream but that dream came with so much more. I felt for all that Mike was dealing with. Nothing in his life came easy to him, he worked hard to get where he is now. The decisions he makes while living his dream have hard consequences and he has to figure out how to live with those consequences.
I really enjoy reading this book, this author is new to me but I will be looking for more from Richard Podkowski.
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Meet Richard Podkowski (Taken from Goodreads): Richard Podkowski, a native of Chicago’s South Side, began writing fiction while studying criminal justice at Loyola University Chicago.
As a United States Secret Service special agent, Richard protected U.S. presidents and foreign dignitaries and investigated major domestic and international financial crimes. After retiring from the Secret Service in 2003 as a supervisory special agent, he became a management member of a Fortune 100 company's global security group. For the last several years, Richard has been a private sector strategic security consultant.
Inspired by professional athletes who lived in a fishbowl under constant media scrutiny and made life altering mistakes, Richard wrote The Walk-On. Other projects include a Christmas romantic comedy screenplay and a crime story. In his free time, Richard enjoys riding his road bike, working out, and making Christmas ornaments. He currently resides with his wife in Los Angeles.
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