By Luke Kerr-Dineen
It's fair to say that Thompson puts Manziel's life under a microscope in the piece; his most glaring flaws and his greatest gifts are examined, as well as the toll fame and expectations take on a 20-year-old kid.
(photo by Getty Images)
Interestingly, golf plays a prominent role throughout Thompson's article.
Maziel's father, Paul, is a failed mini-tour professional who now uses Hollytree Country Club, the golf course where he and Johnny play, as a site to teach his son life lessons. For Johnny Football, the golf course is a place that's fun in theory, but once the game starts, transforms into a constant source of frustration. He throws clubs and shouts angrily when he hits a bad shots, and can never muster the one thing he want's to do the most: Beat his father.
Thompson describes one such round that he witnessed:
Nothing is going right. Putts come up a turn short, or lip out. His distance control is off...On the fifth hole, he snaps. He flings a wedge through the air. The club helicopters, spinning so fast it hums, bouncing off the nearby cart path. 'F---,' he says under his breath."
As Paul Manziel describes, golf with his son is more an ordeal than a refuge.
"I don't enjoy playing golf with him because I don't want to see that temper," he tells Thompson. "I honestly do not. I cringe when he wants to play golf. I don't want to do it, but I know I have to do it. Because he still needs love. He still needs guidance. He still needs to see he's wrong -- and how to control his temper. And if I give up on him, who's gonna take over? The school sure the hell isn't gonna do it."