A daughter discovers herself while uncovering her father’s legendary past in football.
At the age of thirty, Jael Ealey Richardson travelled with her father — former CFL quarterback Chuck Ealey — for the first time to a small town in southern Ohio for his fortieth high school reunion. Knowing very little about her father’s past, Richardson was searching for the story behind her father’s move from the projects of Portsmouth, Ohio to Canada’s professional football league in the early 1970s. At the railroad tracks where her father first learned to throw with stones, Jael begins an unexpected journey into her family’s past.
In this engaging father-daughter memoir, Richardson records some of her father’s never-before told stories: his relationship with his absentee father, memories of his high school and college football victories – including a winning record that remains unbroken to this day – and his up-and-down relationship with the woman he would one day marry.
As Richardson begins unravelling the story of her father’s life, she begins to compare her own childhood growing up in Canada, with her father’s US civil rights era upbringing. Along the way, she also discovers the real reason – despite his athletic accomplishments – her father was never drafted into the National Football League.
The Stone Thrower is a moving story about race and destiny written by a daughter looking for answers about her own black history. Using insightful interviews, archival records and her personal reflections, Richardson’s journey to learn about her father’s past leads her to her own important discoveries about herself, and what it really means to be black in Canada.
Jael Richardson is an award-winning author with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph. Richardson lives in Brampton, Ontario, where she serves as the founder and Artistic Director for the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD).
Jael Ealey Richardson has written a beautiful and compelling story about her wonderful father and what she discovered about herself as she learned about his remarkable past. Chuck Ealey was my childhood sports hero, and when I met him years later, I realized he was just as good a person as I had hoped he would be.… It’s a masterful father-daughter story.
Elegant and moving, The Stone Thrower is not simply a book about football, or race, or fathers and daughters, although it is indeed all of those things. Richardson’s memoir is cinematic and triumphant, a book for anyone who has ever felt on the outside looking in and longed to understand why.
... a rare beast in the world of Canadian literature.
This is the story of recovered memories, of a child born to tolerance who must decipher her father’s unexplained and very different past and then endeavor to understand it. Jael Ealey Richardson makes her own terms and then struggles to meet them through a soul-searching, beautifully detailed journey, finding the truth of her father’s life along with her own.
... a remarkable read.
... a deeply personal and deeply passionate story.