h.g. bissinger

coach of the year

I am on my third marriage, and it is going pretty well, but hell, I would marry the television version of Kyle Chandler in an instant. I don’t think I’m his type.

I have met Kyle, who is 46, several times. I was always struck by his soft-spoken graciousness, a Georgia boy still, with those pointed shitkicker boots sticking out several miles. When Peter Berg, who is my cousin and who created the series Friday Night Lights, based upon my book, offered him the role of head coach Eric Taylor, Kyle did not register a heartbeat of excitement. He thought he was too young for it and worried the show would become a small-town Texas version of Beverly Hills, 90210. 

I had my own worries: Coaches have been portrayed ad nauseam; originality seemed impossible. But confirming Pete’s instinct, Kyle’s combination of authentic toughness and authentic compassion hauled you in. His unique performance showed that sensitivity is a form of strength. Which is why, if he won’t marry me, Kyle can at least give me some lessons on how to be a better man. - Buzz Bissinger

Athletics lasts for such a short period of time. It ends for people. But while it lasts, it creates this make-believe world where where normal rules don’t apply. We build this false atmosphere. When it’s over and the harsh reality sets in, that’s the real joke we play on people.… Everyone wants to experience that superlative moment, and being an athlete can give you that. It’s Camelot for them. But there’s even life after it.
—  Friday Night Lights; A Team, a Town, and a Dream.
By H.G. Bissinger

My first book of 2014 was H.G. Bissinger's Friday Night Lights. The last time I read this book was in 2005 when I had to do a book report in eighth grade. It was the only sports book available, so obviously I picked it. Of course, I didn’t quite understand it because I was interested only in football, and the background information about Odessa’s history and the demographics and politics surrounding the team were kind of lost on me. I saw the movie a few years ago, and then I became an avid fan of the TV series in 2012. At the end of last semester, I went through a spurt of book-buying, and Friday Night Lights was at the top of my list. I talked to one of my friends about it after I finished it, and we agreed that it is a bit of a dense read, but I admire the way Bissinger weaves in each of the main characters’ narratives along with all of the background for explaining why Permian is the way it is. Plus, Bissinger’s writing is some of the most beautiful prose I’ve read in a long time, something that definitely would have been lost on me eight-plus years ago.