Lone Star Gridiron

After Friday Night Lights

When the Games Ended, Real Life Began. An Unlikely Love Story.

Buzz Bissinger's new Byliner Original, After Friday Night Lights, published today, is the long-anticipated, daringly honest sequel to his now-classic Friday Night Lights. Bissinger writes of his deep and complex twenty-five-year relationship with Boobie Miles, the magical Permian Panthers running back whose rare skills and heartbreaking story helped ignite the Friday Night Lights phenomenon.

"Boobie" Miles, and his experience in Odessa, Texas, was, as Bissinger puts it, "a symbol of everything that was wrong with high school football." The complex friendship between subject and author has deepened over the years and is, Bissinger states, "the most lasting legacy of Friday Night Lights, or at least the legacy I care about most."

Heading into the 1988 season, Miles looked like a star-in-the-making, a sure bet to ascend to college and the NFL. Abandoned by his mother, beaten by his dad, he had scraped through a rough upbringing, but it appeared that success on the field was soon to redeem his pain. Then, in a meaningless preseason scrimmage, Boobie blew out his knee. By midseason he was off the team, no longer needed by his coaches, who had found themselves a new running back.

After Friday Night Lights follows Boobie through the dark years he suffered after his injury right up to a hopeful present. It is the indelible portrait of the oddest of enduring friendships: that of a writer and his subject, a "neurotic Jew" and a West Texas oil-field worker, a white man raised in privilege and a black man brought up in poverty and violence, and a father and his "fourth son." Their story encompasses the realities of race and class in America and reveals with heartbreaking accuracy how men rise again after their dreams are broken.

H.G. "Buzz" Bissinger is the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of the bestselling books Friday Night Lights, A Prayer for the City, and Three Nights in August.

What are your thoughts?