Stage Play Resembles Goodwin's Life

Tight end Hunter Goodwin isn't the sole focus of a play written by his sister, but Amy Goodwin admits she drew on her family experiences to form the script.

Along with his mom and dad, Vikings tight end Hunter Goodwin recently attended the theater to take in a play.

The play, "Rounding Home" focused on a family of four, and how that family handles the pressure of a son's path to a professional baseball career, making big money and getting national recognition. The main character is the ball player's sister, who is a sports broadcaster. How she reacts to her brother's fame is one of the constant themes of the play.

Rather than looking up at the actors and actresses on stage, the Goodwins often felt as if they were glancing in a mirror. That wasn't by coincidence, either, considering the script was written by Amy Goodwin, Hunter's older sister.

"Some of the characters in that play kind of parallel parts of my childhood — growing up in a small town with different challenges," Hunter said. "She basically wrote a play that was based on a lot of family issues we had faced. Some were funny and not that serious, others …

"She wrote about what a screwed-up life I had."

Hunter is one of the Vikings' locker room leaders in self-deprecating humor. He may have been the family's most successful athlete, but so far as intelligence goes, well, he probably took a back seat.

"She's a whole lot smarter than me," Hunter says half-jokingly of Amy, who is a legal secretary in Austin, Texas. "I try to help her when I can, but I'm not smart enough to comment on her behalf. She got the brains. I got the short end of the stick."

Amy laughs at her brother's response. "I don't think he takes himself that seriously," she said. "He does a good job of relating to people and he is funny. You hear him talk and you hear him say stuff he comes up with, and you wonder, ‘Where did that come from?'"

Amy, 33, earned a masters degree in education at the University of Southern California, then earned another masters degree at Southwest Texas State, this time in counseling. It was the counseling degree, she said, that helped her analyze her inner-family's relationships, thus forming a foundation of experiences for "Rounding Home."

"When you're a teenager, you miss a lot of cues and you don't see what's going on," she said. "Then you get older and start studying family dynamics and personalities and you can go back and make sense of things. I don't think I could've written this without my training in psychology."

Goodwin's family history starts with dad, Bob, who played college football at the University of Texas. An injury was likely the only obstacle that prevented Bob from ever playing in the NFL. When Hunter's athletic career took off in high school, naturally pressure began to mount. He played college football at Texas A&M, then signed with the Vikings. Amy also was a high-profile athlete. She competed on the Southern Cal women's track team.

"In the story, the dad always wanted to play baseball but couldn't, so he wanted his son to," Amy said. "Hunter's had to deal with my dad's expectations since he was 5. I'm amazed at how he's sustained that amount of pressure.

"I think when you have a father whose dreams were cut short in sports, then puts all his hopes and dreams into the entire family, that's a lot to carry. There was a lot of turmoil and conflict in our family getting from Point A to Point B.

"I think from a sister's perspective, she's trying to find her place and how she is trying to define her place in the family. I thought it was appropriate for the sister to be a sportscaster because she could only come to the table if she talked sports. You can either communicate at that level or you don't talk."

Before the play ever hit the stage, Amy sent copies of the script to her mom, dad and Hunter.

"My dad was like, ‘Is this how you see me?'" Amy recalled. "My brother said, ‘Am I really that insensitive?' I said, ‘Hunter, this is an exaggeration, it's a dramatization. It's not a complete autobiography.'

"Nobody raised any big stinks about it, so I went ahead and put it on as a play."

After seeing the play, the Goodwins offered rave reviews. "Hunter said he paid 80 dollars for ‘Rent' and that my play was a lot better than the play, ‘Rent,'" Amy said. "So that was a back-handed compliment."

Her family members weren't the only fans of the play.

After one of the performances, William Boyles, who wrote box-office hits "Castaway" and "Apollo 13," told Amy he was impressed and encouraged her to write a screen play for Rounding Home, with hopes of it becoming a film.

She hopes it will get purchased by a major movie company. "The big danger is they buy it and they hire their own writers to rewrite it," she said. "Then it turns into a completely different story than what I wanted to portray."

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