I met Rich Cohen as he was promoting his current book, Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football. Cook Memorial library was the host of the book signing and for a venue of this type, the crowd was larger than average. I estimate 70 people were present and another difference was that it was mostly men which is no surprise considering the book is about football.
The host library was Cook Memorial but it was held at the Vernon Hills Aspen Library location. I did not realize this so had to rush from the wrong location to the correct location. I hate being late. I got there as fast as I could and was directed to the meeting room. It is one thing to be late, another to enter with a dog. West is quiet and well behaved as a service dog (in training) should be but still his presence turned some heads. I was embarrassed and quickly took a seat in the last row.
Mr. Cohen was un-phased by our entrance. He seemed to enjoy public speaking and clearly loved talking about the Chicago Bears. We learned that Rich grew up in a Chicago suburb loving not just football but baseball as well. He vividly remembers the 1985 Bears and can even recite specific plays in great detail. Rich interviewed many of the players including Jim McMahon. He said he simply asked for interviews and most were happy, some eager to reminisce. He thoughtfully spoke of the lives the players led then and what their lives are like now. Some are no longer with us while the ones who are pay a high price for the brutality of the sport. We listened and thought of the excitement and fame of youth to the letdown of being cut from the team to arthritis and memory loss. Collectively we appreciated the contrast of players being in extraordinary condition with strength, speed and agility that came easy to growing old and perhaps feeling forgotten. As sad as this seems, the consensus was that there were no regrets. Sacrifices were made for their beloved sport of football.
Rich Cohen is not new to writing. He has written numerous books with a wide range of topics. He has also contributed work for The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine and Vanity Fair. His books and magazine articles seem to have no boundaries. While promoting his current book and talking about football his persona is that of a man’s man. He fielded numerous questions from the men in the audience. He’s a virtual encyclopedia of facts. But this same man also interviewed Angelina Jolie about the sexiness of pregnancy and wrote books about Jewish immigrants and family discord. He has even published a children’s book.
The formal presentation lasted about twenty minutes. This was followed by Q & A which was impressive. Men present asked specific questions. They were not attempting to catch Rich Cohen unprepared, they wanted his take on things. They wanted details and details were given. I’m always impressed by people with such recall; impressed and envious.
When the Q & A wrapped up, people were invited to form a line for book signing. I waited to join the line until it appeared that everyone who was buying a book was in place. I prefer to be last since I usually don’t purchase books. I have valid reasons for not buying but the authors don’t know that. This may or may not actually be awkward but I perceive it that way. I make a point of smiling and saying nice things that I truly feel and then make my request. In this case, a puzzled look briefly crossed Mr. Cohen’s face before he smiled and agreed to sign the fabric and the certificate of authenticity. I thanked him and he thanked me for coming to the event.
Rich Cohen’s autograph on fabric will be included on the quilt “Fall in Love with Books”. This quilt will be won by a lucky person. For details, please see the Thank You Reward tab.
All the Best,