Neely Crenshaw, the all-American quarterback of John Grisham’s novel “Bleachers” is discussed. Neely Crenshaw was the All-American. He was loved by everyone, and only hated by the opposing teams. In the novel Bleachers by John Grisham, Neely’s greatness is described. In his three-year high school football career, he threw a total of sixty-three touchdown passes. He threw three touchdown passes, ran for a hundred yards, and won the Gator Bowl during his freshman year with a last-second pass.
During high school, he was on the receiving end of several bribes from various colleges wishing for him to pledge himself to that particular college. Neely had his pick of the females and could be with anyone he wanted. College went in roughly the same manner for Neely, at least until his sophomore year. Signing with Tech, he remained a hero. His football glory remained the same after high school. He was still a great quarterback and the envy of all the other teams. During his sophomore year, he was the national player of the week. However, tragedy struck Neely in his sophomore year.
He was hit in the knee by an opposing player in a game against A&M. The injury ended his football career and reduced him to the status of an average citizen. Once Neely learned of Coach Rake’s illness, he decided to return to Messina for the funeral, in which many past Messina players would be present. Sitting in the bleachers of Rake Field, the first past teammate he meets is Paul Curry, who caugt forty-seven of the sixty-three touchdown passes that Neely threw. Read more in Book Talk « Ranger’s Apprentice 9-halt’s Peril Lord of The Flies Seminar – Simon’s Spirituality »
They speak for a while, and then Silo Mooney arrives. Mooney is a nose-guard turned chop shop owner. He has had numerous run-ins with the police, and everyone is surprised that he is not stuck in prison. Neely meets other former players, including Nat Turner, who is the first man in Messina to have earrings. He opened a coffee shop after high school and grew to know Rake as more than a coach when Rake began visiting Nat’s shop on a regular basis. A few days after Neely’s arrival, Nat comes to the bleachers with a tape of the 1987 championship game in which Rake punched Neely in the face.
As the players that participated in the game discuss the various plays and those that watched the game give their perspective, all of Rake’s former players bond in the common memory. It is during this night that Coach Rake dies. During Neely’s high school career, the girls all flocked to be with him. At one point, he had a girlfriend named Cameron Lane. However, when a more attractive girl wanted Neely’s attention, he dropped Cameron without a second thought. He left her heart broken and with a grudge. When Neely returns to Messina, he learns that Cameron is also in town for the funeral.
After wrestling with the idea for a while, he decides to pay her a visit. They speak of Cameron’s current life and husband. Neely brings up the memories of their past relationship, and Cameron blows it off. Although Neely desperately wants Cameron back, she wants no part of him. When he leaves, he informs Cameron that if her marriage ever ends, she can give Neely a call. In Coach Rake’s will, he asks former players to deliver eulogies. Neely is one of the chosen few. He begins by nervously introducing himself and asks the crowd to be patient with him because he’s not used to speaking in public.
He speaks of the last time he saw Coach Rake and of when Coach Rake asked for forgiveness for the incident of the 1987 championship game. As Neely continues speaking, he gradually becomes more comfortable. His eyes move to the crowd and away from his notes and he begins to speak freely. He ends his speech by stating that he has forgiven Rake, and that after struggling with the question of whether he loves or hates his past coach, he comes to the conclusion that he loves him. After Rake’s funeral, Neely and some other former players gather at Silo’s cabin and have a good time before Neely decides to leave.
After leaving Silo’s cabin, Neely visits Rake’s grave, watches some of the football game from Karr’s Hill, and finally decides to leave. However, he vows to return more often because Messina was the only hometown he ever knew. Neely Crenshaw – He is the main character, and the author tells the story from his point of view. He had been the great football hero in the 1980’s and had a great future perhaps in professional football. Then, he received a career-ending knee injury as a sophomore in college and his great future disappeared. He has not returned to his hometown in 15 years because of his hatred for Coach Rake.
Neely Crenshaw – Neely is a troubled man of 30 when he returns to his hometown to sit a death vigil for his former football coach, Eddie Rake. He has a love-hate relationship with this man whom he hasn’t seen for 15 years. He has spent those years trying to overcome his bitterness, but has failed miserably. The truth is that he is very much like Eddie Rake. He has a hard time accepting that he is no longer the great football hero, and he is bitter at how life has treated him. He also knows people whom he has treated poorly and to whom he owes apologies, but like Eddie, it takes him a long time to realize this.