Bissinger observes, “But legs are not a ticket. They’re just legs: fragile, exposed, subject at moment to irreparable hurt” (13).
One of my favorite books of all time is Buzz Bissinger’s “Friday Night Lights.” The movie did not do justice (and though the show was only loosely based on the book – at least it caught the spirit behind the story). Imagine how excited I was to see Bissinger’s short twenty-five year follow-up available as a free e-book download this week at Starbucks! I read the forty-page work on Boobie Miles in one sitting.
Speaking of Miles’ career-ending injury, the author writes, “That was the moment when I understood that I would never abandon him. Over the years since, if anything I have done for him has made a difference, has created even a momentary uplift in his broken-puzzle life, then it has been worth it. I try to coax him forward. But the “what if” question that lingers over his life never goes away. I believe that he had as much chance as any great high school running back coming out of Texas in the past several decades to make it to the pros” (12).
In response to Miles finally giving up his football dream, the author suggests, “I believe him. But when you were once an athlete wearing the crown of thorns called Great Potential, you never fully give up the dream, no matter what you say. “What if?” is a big f****** headache that lasts forever” (23).
But the “what ifs” of life are not limited just to football. The author himself feels a good portion of the pressure as well. He proposes, “It is now twenty-two years since I finished writing the book, and still, virtually every day, someone approaches me about it…But I so often feel as if I professionally died after I penned it, at the age of thirty-five, vainly trying to top what could never be topped, wondering if I was fated to be a one-hit wonder, worried that my first book should have maybe been my last…Did my life somehow stop because of it, the book both a shining star and a falling one? I want to flee from it and yet here I am, twenty-two years later, writing about it. So maybe I really don’t” (28).
Who would have thought that “… a meaningless summer day in 1988 that Boobie’s life was defined by an injury that my have changed his fate forever. What I never anticipated was that the very same moment would forever define me” (37).