Opinion: Michigan offensive lineman David Moosman block outs time for classic literature
“Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be. But what will happen in all the other days that ever come can depend on what you do today.”
-Ernest Hemingway, “For Whom The Bell Tolls”
The Hemingway passage may boil down to a football clichÃ© about daily improvement, but for Michigan offensive lineman David Moosman, the Hemingway version might work better.
“I like reading a lot,” Moosman said. “This past summer, I read a lot of Henry James, that’s tough. He’s a rough author but I enjoy it. I really like James Baldwin and Hemingway, a lot of American, mostly American stuff.”
Lately, he’s been on a James kick after a professor got the English major hooked on it. He ventured into the world of James before, but lately has been diving in more. "Turn of the Screw"Â and "Beast of the Jungle" are recent reads. By the time he got to "Portrait of a Lady,"Â that became a little too much James.
“It takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature.”
James lived before football and most modern sports became popular in this country, but the quote could also explain why so many authors use sports as metaphors and athletics as a way to tell tales. Think of how many stories revolve around baseball or a sporting event or the romanticizing of a game.
It could be because sport is a constant history, always changing and always having heroes and goats, winners and losers. Pure emotion.
Moosman showed emotion Saturday, disappointment again as his team lost a close game on the road. And understanding Monday when he said his team is better and more accomplished this season than a year ago. It’s true, and he seemed pretty pleased with that.
But when he can escape from football, Moosman vanishes, too, from reality. Non-fiction, he hinted, can be far too depressing at times. So he turns to fiction and to the works of those American authors above.
“I remember reading my first Hemingway short story and then thinking it was like a chapter in a story, uncompleted,” Moosman said. “And then I figured out that’s just how he writes and I saw more of it and I loved it.”
His favorite Hemingway is “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” a short story first published in 1933 about two waiters waiting for their last customer to leave.
The 23-year-old Moosman has been an avid reader since high school in Libertyville, Ill., and now he focuses on studying English.
His mother recently bought him his New Yorker subscription. For his birthday last month, his girlfriend got him a subscription to a yet-to-arrive magazine about food.
And in an age where television is dominant, Moosman will often forego the glowing box for paper and ink.
“It definitely was a high school thing, definitely liked reading a lot,” Moosman said. “Just watching too much TV makes my brain hurt, so it’s nice.”
While he doesn’t have the extensive library of former teammate K.C. Lopata, he is always on the search for new things. He’s not a big re-reader, meaning he’ll go through a book once, absorb the knowledge and then be done with it.
“If I find something that piques my interest, I’ll crush it, just cram through it,” Moosman said. “But I don’t go looking for stuff.”
Instead, he waits for his mom to send him short stories and articles. It is then, along with his reading of the classic works of American literature, that Moosman expands his mind beyond anything having to do with football.