TRAVERSE CITY — Talk about a Traverse City e-page turner.
Acclaimed author and journalist Buzz Bissinger plans to write an e-book this year that features the Traverse City Wolves, a semi-pro football team started here five years ago.
Bissinger, in town Tuesday night to discuss his latest book at the National Writers Series, is author of “Friday Nights Lights,” a 1990 bestseller about the Permian Panthers of Odessa — then the most winning high-school football team in Texas history. The book became the basis for a 2004 TV series and movie.
What attracted Bissinger to the Wolves' story?
“To me, it’s the essence of what sports should be and never is," he said. "Here you have guys who aren’t playing for the glory of the Super Bowl, they’re just playing for the team and the love of the game."
Bissinger plans to return to Traverse City several times this year to get to know the players and follow the team. He said he also wants to learn more about Traverse City.
"I had no idea what Traverse City looked like,” he said. “It’s quaint and charming. And after seeing the community support for writing, it’s also very rare,”
Bissinger's e-book comments came during a question-and-answer session when he appeared as the National Writers Series' guest author at the City Opera House.
The news surprised Peter Boyles, a Traverse City attorney and Wolves player who had dinner with Bissinger Tuesday evening to discuss book details.
Humorous emails Boyle wrote to friends about his 2008 foray into semi-pro football inspired the book idea after one email found its way to a friend of a Byliner editor. Byliner.com, an online publisher, will publish the Wolves book.
“As of last night, it wasn’t a done deal that we would do this,” Boyles said Wednesday. “I was surprised and pleased.”
Bissinger has had one e-book, “After Friday Night Lights” published by Byliner.com. It sold 125,000 copies, which he attributes in part to his earlier bestseller's success.
Bissinger said Boyles is a "perfect example" of someone who plays for love of the game.
A linebacker and safety, Boyles never played football in high school or college. He joined the Traverse City Wolves in 2008 at age 42. Now 47, he’s the team’s oldest member. Most other players have high school or college experience and some even had National Football League tryouts, he said.
The team has a roster of about 40 players with an average age of 23-24 years old. It is owned by Sean Liles and coached by Rick Micham, and is part of the Great Midwest Football League.