Merry Christmas, everyone!
After the Lights Go Out
If you’ve never read the book Friday Night Lights, Buzz Bissinger’s 1990 book on the Permian High School (Odessa, TX) football team’s 1989 season, you really should. The book, of course, spawned a movie and a television show. But the book is fascinating in the way Bissinger was able to embed himself into the high school football crazed small town of Odessa, TX and chronicle the town, the players and the coaches and how the performance of a high school football team so affects an entire community. If you have read it, you probably remember Brian Chavez. Chavez was one of the stars of the team and the book – an extremely bright, very talented kid who wanted nothing more than to get out of Odessa. Chavez worked hard on the field – he was the first Mexican-American team captain in Permian History – and in the classroom – he earned himself admission from Harvard. Interestingly, the kid who worked so hard to get out of Odessa found himself back there. After graduating cum laude from Harvard and earning a law degree from Texas Tech University, Chavez returned to Odessa to practice law. He led an upstanding life – until one night five years ago when he didn’t. This story chronicles Chavez’ rise, fall, and rehabilitation. If you’re a fan of the book, you will want to read this. But the most interesting passage comes when discussing the high school football worship in Odessa. Chavez makes a point that I had never considered:
No matter what the rest of the world thinks about misplaced priorities or lack of perspective, Chavez, at 45, still believes in the Permian way. It turns out the guy so admired a quarter century ago for not putting all his eggs in football’s basket sees nothing tragic in those who do.
“What made the Permian program, what’s so great about it, is that in Odessa, as a third grader you idolized the Permian middle linebacker or safety or receiver. That’s who you wanted to be,” he says. “And that’s a goal you can actually attain! How great is that? A goal you have in life is actually attainable! All you have to do is you just keep playing with your buddies and your friends and you actually attain your goals! In Odessa, you can do that! But, you grow up somewhere else, wanting to be Troy Aikman? You’re never going to be Troy Aikman.”
You know, it’s not a bad point. -TOB
Source: “How the Hero of Friday Night Lights Won and Lost His Good Name”, David McKenna, Deadspin (12/18/2015)
UPDATE: Tom Brady, Still a Bimbo (Again)
In our weeks of January 26, 2015 and September 7, 2015 digests, we brought you stories of Tom Brady and how those stories made us think Tom is a total bimbo. Well, here’s another. Sorry, I can’t get enough of this stuff. -TOB
Source: “Tom Brady Is a Hilarious Moron”, Drew Magary, Deadspin (12/18/2015)
Bryant Gumbel Making Bryant Gumbel Look Like Wayne Brady on Chappelle’s Show
This wide-ranging interview with Bryant Gumbel is what happens when a really smart guy, with some years on this planet, and a ton of job security, just decides he does not give one crap about speaking his mind. It’s fantastic. Gumbel speaks on the NFL’s lies and hypocrisy, calls Donald Trump a “shithead”, and non-payment of college athletes. It’s well worth your time. -TOB
Source: “Bryant Gumbel: ESPN, CBS Gave ‘Big Wet Kiss’ to NFL”, Robert Silverman, The Daily Beast (12/20/2015)
PAL Song of the Week: Special TOB Edition: All the Beatles songs, ever, which just got released yesterday on Spotify. But especially Day in the Life, Rocky Raccoon, and Yellow Submarine. Enjoy the Holidays, everyone!
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Christmas is awesome. First of all, you get to spend time with people you love. Secondly, you can get drunk and no one can say anything. Third, you give presents. What’s better than giving presents? And fourth, getting presents. So, four things. Not bad for one day. It’s really the greatest day off all time.