One of the best things about my recent college reunion (the 25th!) was the opportunity to get to know Stefan Fatsis, who’s married to my college friend Melissa Block (of NPR and All Things Considered fame). Stefan is a journalist who writes for the Wall Street Journal, contributes to NPR, and is the author of Wild and Outside: How a Renegade Minor League Revived the Spirit of Baseball in America’s Heartland (1995) and Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players (2001).

His new book is A Few Seconds of Panic: A 5-Foot-8, 170-Pound, 43-Year-Old Sportswriter Plays in the NFL, an account of how he tricked the Denver Broncos into “letting me do a Plimpton.” After training for a year with both a strength coach and a kicking coach, Stefan joined the Broncos as a place-kicker during their 2006 training camp. The result is an inside-account of life with a professional football team that has already received shouts in the the July 11 issue of Entertainment Weekly and the July 14 issue of Time magazine, as well as a glowing review from the LA Times. You can find a brief interview with Stefan on 

Stefan will be appearing this Monday, July 14, at 7:00 p.m. at the Barnes and Noble on Broadway and 82nd Street to read from the book. You can also catch him at at the Barnes and Noble in Park Slope on August 8 at 7:00 p.m. If you’re not in the city, you can find out about his book tour at