Title: THE TASTE OF TURF
Category/Genre: MG Contemporary
Word Count: 52,000
My main character is most uncomfortable with:
Beth doesn’t mind if it is hot or cold as long as she can play football, but she wouldn’t like it if it was so hot she could fry bacon on her helmet or all her chocolate melted.
Beth Painter is in love…with football. She’s spent the last five years supporting her twin brother and coaching beside their dad on the sidelines. In The Taste of Turf, she enters middle school and decides to take her passion a step further: Beth dons a helmet and pads and joins the team. Now that her dad isn’t the coach, she sees her chance to test her skills on a field where no one can say she’s only playing because of him.
Coach Kotch welcomes Beth as reserve kicker. There’s only one problem, she can’t kick, and Coach refuses to acknowledge her real skills. She has a better arm and can run faster than most of the boys, including her twin brother, Brock. Facing opposition both on and off the field, Beth vows to sit on the bench until she gets a chance to play, no matter how long that takes. When the rumors start to fly about her dating a girl cheerleader, Beth has to decide whether her sudden acceptance among her teammates is worth living a lie.
Though a growing number of girls take the field alongside the boys each fall in the non-fiction world, very little shelf space goes to books that portray female protagonists playing football. Dairy Queen by Catherine Murdock, published in 2006, and Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally, published in 2011, have sold successfully in the Young Adult market. Unlike these novels, The Taste of Turf places sibling rivalry on the field. Millions of girls will watch the Super bowl in a few weeks, this book was written for them and for the all the girls who watch their brothers take the field each fall wishing in their hearts that they were the ones advancing the ball.
First 250 words:
Chapter 1 – The Opposition
Dad has always said we should turn our disadvantages into advantages. So far, I was trying to keep from getting a concussion.
With a grunt, I got up on my feet and adjusted my pads. I put my mouthpiece back in and welcomed the now familiar taste of grass and dirt. Determined to survive practice, I hurried over to the line of scrimmage.
“Remember, Runt, you wanted to play,” said my twin brother Brock from across the line.
I wanted to tell him to shove it. Instead, I took a bigger bite of my grass-stained mouthpiece. He was right. Everyone tried to talk me out of playing, but I love football. I love everything about it. As far back as I can remember, the game has been part of my life.
“Down!” yelled Tank, my side’s quarterback for the practice game.
I got set in my stance and stared into the blue eyes so like my own. My much larger twin sneered at me. As soon as the ball snapped, he would be headed right through me. I was at a distinct disadvantage as the smallest kid and only girl on the team.
The clash of plastic on plastic echoed in my ears. My mouthpiece got a fresh dose of grassy earth as Brock and Bubba again brought me down. Practice was three hours a day of my brother and his friends tackling me. The dizzying sight of blue sky quickly replaced by green field was becoming mundane.