Finish Strong: A Father’s Code and a Son’s Path

Penguin Pr. May 2021. 288p. ISBN 9780525560852. $27. SPORTS
During his football career, Ebner earned three Super Bowl rings while playing safety and on special teams for the New England Patriots from 2012 to 2019; in 2020, he signed as free agent with the New York Giants. In this book (co-written by sports columnist Daugherty), Ebner shares the story of his father, Jeff, who was his mentor, trainer, and best friend—and discusses the lasting impact of his father’s murder on his own life and career. Jeff ran an auto salvage company, where he was killed by a thief when Nate was 19 years old. The book’s most compelling chapters describe Nate coming to terms with his father’s death and figuring out how to honor him in daily life. Jeff played club rugby in Columbus, OH, as did Nate at Ohio State before becoming a walk-on player for the Buckeye football team. He was later a member of the 2016 U.S. Olympic rugby team, which suffered a last-minute loss to Argentina. Ebner’s description of training for the Olympics will certainly give readers an appreciation for rugby’s physical demands.
VERDICT This memoir will find readers among fans of insider sports accounts, or anyone fascinated by what it takes to become a pro athlete; it’s also a solid choice for young adults.
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