I have always enjoyed reading books by John Grisham. The King of Torts is one of my favorites probably due to my interest in tort law while attending college. The Broker is also a favorite. In that book, he describes Bologna, Italy in such colorful detail and realism that I could probably find my way around without having actually been there. In the book, Playing for Pizza, Italy is again the setting although this time it is mainly the city of Parma. This city is famous for its Parmesan cheese.
Rick Dockery, the third-string quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, was held responsible for losing the play-off game against the Denver Broncos. He was also smashed by an opposition player and suffered a severe head injury. When he came to in the hospital, he found out from his agent he had been fired. The Cleveland fans hated him and none of the other American teams wanted him. The only team that was interested in him was an Italian football team called the Parma Panthers. He was offered a quarterback position for five months with little pay. Since he wanted to continue to play football, he had no choice but to accept the offer.
The Panthers never won the Italian Super Bowl. Would the team now have the chance with Rick as their quarterback? Would he be welcomed by his teammates and even find time on the side for a little romance?
What appealed to me most about this book was not only the football, but also the feeling of being in Italy enjoying the interaction with its people, its fine cuisine, and scenic beauty.