Neely Crenshaw ate, sleep, and was football. From the time he was in 6th grade his hopes and dreams were to become the greatest and Coach Eddie Rake was going to get him there. Coach Rake was not an easy coach to deal with. He was hard on his boys and because of it they won many, many games. After an altercation in the locker room at half time at a high school title game, where Coach Rake backhanded Neely, his star quarterback, and Neely knocked him out cold, Neely hated the man. He finished the rest of the game winning it with a busted nose and a broken hand and left town never wanting to return. Now, after 15 years he is back. Coach Rake is on his deathbed and all his former players are slowly returning to the field to sit in the bleachers and recall their own stories and love/hate relationships with the man. When he passes away Neely is one of the chosen few asked to give a eulogy. Not good speaking in front of crowds and winging it he talks about Coach Rake, the impact he made on his life and all the other players lives, about his career ending college game and how Coach Rake had visited him at the hospital after they had told him he'd never play football again, and about the fact that every boy that played for Rake both loved and hated him.
This report prepared by Amy in Wisconsin
Bleachers is the story of a past high school star quarterback, Neely Crenshaw, who returns after many years to the town that he left and never looked back. His former coach, Eddie Rake, is on his deathbed so the boys from teams past have come to sit and hold vigil in the Messina High bleachers each evening regaling each other with tales of their playing days and tough coach. This is a school and a town where football meant everything and coach Rake expected his players to give their all. The school and town expected victories and saw the teams rack up 13 state titles over the years.
Crenshaw is reluctant to talk about the secret confrontation between he and coach Rake that changed their lives, but he finds the courage to approach his former high school flame whose heart he broke years before. In the course of the former Spartan players recounting coach Rake's legend, it is revealed that he had been fired a few years prior for the death of a young player during drills in the stifling heat of one of Rake's brutal practice sessions.
Grisham's Bleachers is a story of fleeting fame, letting go of the past and finding forgiveness.
This report prepared by David Fletcher
Neely Crenshaw returns to his home town awaiting the death of his critically ill high school football coach in a town where football is everything. Former players gather on the bleachers to reflect on past games and the coach they all loved and hated.
This report prepared by Natasha Joiner