Brian Westbrook is a Philadelphia sports legend. Westbrook played eight of his nine career seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and earned two Pro Bowl selections. He is in the Eagles Hall of Fame. Now, Westbrook can add another accolade to his resume, author.
On August 1, Westbrook will publish his first children’s book titled “The Mouse That Played Football.” The book was co-written by Westbrook and sports journalist, Lesley Van Arsdall. The illustration was made by Mr. tom
When asked what made him decide to do this, Westbrook said, “I’m married and I have three kids. A nine-year-old, a five-year-old and a three-year-old, and I see how they move. I see how I have to move as dad. So my life has changed and turned. Things have changed. So I thought this book was a great opportunity to tell them a story and talk to them and help them see life the way I see it I saw when I was young, as a child.”
The book is about a mouse who wants to play in the Mouse Football League (MFL), but due to his small size, his skills are questioned.
“When I got my copy. I put the kids down and I read it. I was so excited because I was like wow, this is really my story. My kids were like this is a really good book, who is she talking about? I was like you haven’t seen or heard any of this before?” Westbrook said jokingly.
The book closely parallels Westbrook’s story. At 5’10, Westbrook weighed 205 pounds when he was a running back for the Philadelphia Eagles. He wasn’t as small as a mouse, but he wasn’t as big as some of the other boys in the field. However, he was explosive and dominated the game from the start, even at the college level. While playing for the Villanova Wildcats football team, he broke the NCAA all-time rushing record with 9,512 yards.
The mouse in his book is small, but tough. People around him doubt he can reach the MFL because of his size.
“I’m not an old man. And you see guys like Jordan Mailata (offensive tackle for the Eagles) who are 6’8, 340 pounds. To play between guys like that, it’s never just about your strength. It will never be just about your height and build. It’s not just going to be about that because that’s not how it was for me,” Westbrook shared.
Having confidence is the main theme that “The Mouse That Played Football” focuses on. The mouse must ignore adults who do not believe in him.
Westbrook says, “There was a big stigma, especially in the world of sports, that if you’re not big you’re not good enough. That’s what this book is about, overcoming adversity, overcoming what a person or a group thinks of you to be successful. It’s about building that chip on your shoulder so that when you get that chance, you prove them wrong.”
The themes in this book don’t just apply to sports, so there may be a chance this won’t be Westbrook’s last book.
“The sky’s the limit,” Westbrook says. “I’ve learned so many lessons, good and bad, throughout my life in football and business, marriage and raising children. There are a lot of different things that we can put on the pages of books and hopefully we will in the future.”
Westbrook and Arsdall will be at the Free Library of Philadelphia on August 4 for a book reading. Visit the library website for more information at libwww.freelibrary.org/program.
More information on “The Mouse Who Played Football” is available here tupress.temple.edu