Monday, August 27, 2012

the last book I ever read (Buzz Bissinger's Father's Day, excerpt four)

from Father's Day: A Journey into the Mind and Heart of My Extraordinary Son by Buzz Bissinger:

We’re also going to see Boobie Miles in Odessa, the Great Black Hope running back I wrote about whose high school career ended with an injury before the season even started. He was the book’s essential character, a figure of tragedy because of his shattered dreams, scorned by the town of Odessa with epithets of “nigger” after he got hurt and no longer mattered on the football field. Because of the book, he achieved a fame so at odds with the desperations in his own life and only intensified by the 2004 film were celebrity re-occurred. I have been close with Boobie ever since the publication of the book, a relationship going on two decades. I have become a surrogate father and he has become a surrogate son. I have received hundreds of calls from him and in almost all of them I have heard the genuine pain in his voice—unable to hold a job, unable to pay the rent and the electric bill, in and out of hail for petty offenses for which he can’t afford minimal bail, hit in court with overdue support payments. There is love between us. But there is also the subtext that what he really wants from me is money, and I am only enabling his self-destruction.

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