If your only exposure to Friday Night Lights is the movie, then you know only half of the story.
Friday Night Lights is one greatest sports book ever written because its author Buzz Bissinger not only tells a story, but leaves the reader feeling like he knows the subjects and the town of Odessa, Texas personally.
Bissinger took a year off of his life as a successful sportswriter in Philadelphia to write a book about the most storied high school football program in the nation, the Permian Panthers.
What Bissinger found on his year long voyage to west Texas was both disturbing and inspiring.
The Odessa the author found cared little about education, was openly racist, and treated “their Panthers” like God’s until their careers were over at which time they were discarded with no real education or life skills to help them in the real world (in all fairness the same could be said for a chapter focusing on a rival team from Dallas).
However, the inspiration comes from the team itself. The erratic star quarterback who cares for his crippled mother; the Mexican-American tight end who also happens to be the class valedictorian; the star linebacker who would rather be a preacher than a football player; the party boy with a former football-god as a father; and the star running back who becomes just “another thug” when suffering a career ending injury.