Buzz Bissinger was already one of my personal heroes, having achieved celebrity status as arguably our generation’s best sports author, writing one of the great sports books of all time, “Friday Night Lights” (Sports Illustrated called it the greatest Football Book ever written, and ESPN called it the best sports book of all time!), which was then turned into a hit movie and successful television series (Coincidentally directed by his cousin, one of my favorite directors, Peter Berg), while also authoring other incredible works including NY Times Bestsellers like “3 Nights In August”, “Shooting Stars With LeBron James”, and becoming a revered sports journalist for outlets like The Daily Beast and The Philadelphia Inquirer, but now he has written a book which gives you a deep and honest look into his personal world as a parent of a mentally disabled son, and the struggles, hardships, appreciation and lasting bond that can be built through any situation. Here is an excerpt describing the story of his new book “Father’s Day”, and having read it, I can tell you that if I admired Buzz as a literary and cultural icon before this book, I know admire him exponentially as a human being and a father:
“Buzz Bissinger’s twins were born three minutes—and a world—apart. Gerry, the older one, is a graduate student at Penn, preparing to become a teacher. His brother Zach has spent his life attending special schools. He’ll never drive a car, or kiss a girl, or live by himself. He is a savant, challenged by serious intellectual deficits but also blessed with rare talents: an astonishing memory, a dazzling knack for navigation, and a reflexive honesty that can make him both socially awkward and surprisingly wise.
Buzz realized that while he had always been an attentive father, he didn’t really understand what it was like to be Zach. So one summer night Buzz and Zach hit the road to revisit all the places they have lived together during Zach’s twenty-four years. Zach revels in his memories, and Buzz hopes this journey into their shared past will bring them closer and reveal to him the mysterious workings of his son’s mind and heart. The trip also becomes Buzz’s personal journey, yielding revelations about his own parents, the price of ambition, and its effect on his twins.
As father and son journey from Philadelphia to Los Angeles, they see the best and worst of America and each other. Ultimately, Buzz gains a new and uplifting wisdom, realizing that Zach’s worldview has a sturdy logic of its own: a logic that deserves the greatest respect. And with the help of Zach’s twin, Gerry, Buzz learns an even more vital lesson about Zach: character transcends intellect. We come to see Zach as he truly is: patient, fearless, perceptive, kind—a man of excellent character”
Here “The King Of Kamelot” sits down with the incomparable Pulitzer Prize winning author of “Friday Night Lights” in NYC (Thanks as always for being awesome Maria!!) to talk about the touching story behind “Father’s Day” and his unique journey cross country with his incredible son Zach which led to him discovering his son even more but also a poignant look into his own world and past, the story behind the writing of one of sport’s greatest stories in “Friday Night Lights” and watching it turn into a Multi-Million Dollar Franchise, what LeBron James is really like, the price of ambition, and sooo much more!! This is such a touching and heartwarming look into the mind of a literary icon who deals with a situation that millions around the world face, and the learning, appreciation, understanding, and extraordinary blessings that can truly be derived from it. Thank you Buzz for sitting down with me, it truly was a pleasure and an honor!