I’ve watched a lot of American football* on TV. I’ve read The Blind Side and seen the movie. I watched and enjoyed Friday Night Lights. I’ve even attended one college game (in Hawaii), and a couple of pro games for my ‘local’ pro team (the San Francisco 49ers).
But I was lost for the first couple of chapters of Catch of a Lifetime. I’m not sure whether this was an intentional decision to throw the reader in the deep end (in the same was as Cassie was), or whether it was just me.
*I lived in London for ten years, where ‘football’ was a game played with a round ball, aka soccer. I’m from New Zealand, where we have rugby football and rugby league. None of the players wear helmets, and their protective gear consists of a mouthguard and duck tape around their ears. And what US referees penalise as unnecessary roughness, we call a fair tackle.
If you start reading this and find the first couple of chapters difficult, don’t let that put you off. The story definitely grabbed my attention in Chapter Three, and never let up until the last page. And this from someone who would rather read than watch football. (Yes, the college game I attended was fun, but my personal highlight was seeing the marching band).
Onto the story …
Cassie has come to Colorado to get her Master’s degree. She has a part-time job with the college football team as a physical therapist, helping players recover from injury. She also works as an academic advisor, helping ensure the players get the necessary academic grades to keep playing.
I know this wasn’t the point of the novel, but I learned a lot about what goes on behind the scenes in a college football team.
The biggest eye-opener was the amount of money that must go into football programmes. Pro sports didn’t really exist when I was at university, and we certainly didn’t worship the top players the way some of the characters in Catch of a Lifetime appeared to be worshipped.
But college football was just the backdrop for an excellent romance novel with themes of forgiveness and not judging others.
Cassie isn’t happy about being assigned to the football programme. We soon find out why, but I’m not going to spoil it for you. It doesn’t help that the first players and coaches she meets seem to reinforce all the negative stereotypes she believes about student athletes.
Reed is the assistant coach she runs into the most often, because his players seem to have the most injuries and academic issues. There is an immediate attraction, but also the potential issue of a student dating a member of staff. Reed was a great hero—a kind and caring Christian who looked out for the players on his team as he coached them in football, and tried to mentor them in life.
Catch of a Lifetime has plenty of action, both on and off the field.
I thought the way this was blended with Cassie’s spiritual journey was excellent. She’s clearly a Christian, but not to the point of it being preachy. Instead, she and Reed face the struggles common to many dating Christians, and they do it with class.
Overall, I enjoyed Catch of a Lifetime a lot more than I expected based on the first two chapters. I’ll certainly watch out for more novels from Candee Fick. And maybe even some more football novels.
Recommended for readers looking for a Christian New Adult novel with intelligence, action, and romance.
Thanks to the publisher and Reading Deals for providing a free ebook for review. Find out more about Candee Fick at her website, and read the introduction to Catch of a Lifetime below: