First and Long: a black school, a white school and their season of dreams by Greg Borowski is the story of that season of dreams.
During a normal football season, Shorewood High School and Messmer High School would be natural rivals on the football field. They're located just over a mile apart. One is public, the other private. One is suburban, the other urban. One is white, the other black.
In the fall of 2001, the two schools joined on the football field, with Shorewood hoping to boost a lagging program and Messmer looking for a return to the football field after nearly two decades without a team. In a compelling new book, author Greg Borowski was granted full access to the team, from the locker room to the bus to the sidelines, to follow the historic season.
The team was the first ever public-private football partnership in Wisconsin and, of a few dozen like it in the nation, the only one to combine central city kids with those from an affluent suburb. In Milwaukee, one of the most segregated metropolitan areas in the country, the experiment took on an importance greater than that of high school sports. For one tumultuous fall, for the players especially, it meant everything.
The new book -- First and Long: A black school, a white school and their season of dreams -- traces the season from the first nervous practices of August, when all is promise, to the final moments of the last game, when all dreams must end. The book, published by Badger Books, includes a Foreward by Vince Lombardi Jr., and is endorsed by Steve Rushin of Sports Illustrated, NFL great Willie Davis and Jim Dent, author of The Junction Boys.
The book follows the players, from two different worlds, on the field and off, as they learn about overcoming differences, working together and staring down adversity. It is more than a book about football. It's a story about race in a divided community. It's a story about growing up in a time of turmoil. It's a story about working together and getting along. This book takes readers inside the huddle and inside the hearts of a team they won't soon forget.