The Perfect Football Trilogy
I have been thinking about books about football for quite some time now. As part of my preparation for writing my book, I have gone beyond that to read a few. These endeavors got me to thinking about the perfect football trilogy for the reader who wants to be exposed to a variety of perspectives on the game and the culture surrounding football in America. So below, I outline mine.
The reader should start with the classic Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger. This book is an uplifting and heartbreaking story of a Texas town, its obsession with football, and the challenges and triumphs of a high school team and its players. The story illuminates the fact that football has traditionally been a bridge across the racial and socio-economic divides in America. It captures the pride of a town in its team, and the pride of the team in themselves. It profiles the disappointment from defeat, and the physical toll football takes on those who play and coach the sport. It also illuminates the ability of the game to make gods of men.
The second book in my trilogy would be my own, The King of Halloween and Miss Firecracker Queen. This book is my memoir of growing up in the South in a football family, and of my father’s demise from CTE. Despite the topic, the tone of this book is much lighter than Friday Night Lights, making it a good second choice. Moreover, it is told from a daughter’s perspective. In this book the reader will learn what makes a life in football not like any other profession, and what the rhythm of a football life is really like. It will also illuminate the price that families pay for their associations with the game.
Finally, I would conclude the trilogy with Stewart Stevens’ The Last Season. This story is a sweet account of a son returning home to experience one last season of collegiate football with his ninety-five year old father. It profiles the family rituals around football season and game day. It clearly presents the perspective of the dedicated fan. It does these things with a low key, comforting approach to the sense of prospective loss that hangs over the entire story.