The author of Friday Night Lights and Three Nights in August was in Little Rock today talking to Catholic High School students. Armchair critic was there. Here are his observations:
Bissinger is a terrific "get an education or your athletic ability is shit" motivational speaker...one of the best I've seen or heard. And if he wasn't quite that blunt w/ the language today at Catholic High, he was almost. He gets very worked up as he recounts that year and gives updates on a few of the players he came to know, particularly Booby, the black Odessa Permian star whose knee and his life were wrecked and who still calls him periodically. And it was deadly quiet when he told of interviewing the magnificent, talented Dallas Carter athlete--at the Huntsville prison, where he's serving 20 yrs for going on a stealing spree with 3 of his teammates after he'd led Carter to the first state championship by a Dallas high school in 40 yrs. He'd thought he was immune, since he'd always been in high school.
Channel 4 (the network of the TV series) was there and will I'm sure have footage tonight. Also, Charlie Schlumburger (who roomed with Bissinger at Andover circa 1970--thus his trip to LR at his own expense to talk to the boys), his driver/scheduler for these 48 hrs, said he'd be interviewed on Channel 4's early morning show tomorrow.
Had a good, easy chat with Bissinger, a NYC native, before the talk--out in the hallway while classes were in session. Says he likes the FNL tv series, and said the critics love it but "nobody's watching it," and he heard today it will probably be cancelled after it runs the 12 or so episodes alreadyin the can. Said NBC wants to go with all reality shows in the 8-9 Eastern time slot. Too bad.