Yesterday was the start of the NFL season, while last weekend was the start of the college football season. The high school kids have also started their schedule. It’s football, football, football all the time, which is otherwise known as ‘the most wonderful time of the year.’
If you are a football fanatic, you must read “Pigskin Rapture: Four Days in the Life of Texas Football,” written by Mac Engel and photos by Ron Jenkins. This oversized, coffee table-style book documents the ultimate trip that Engel and Jenkins took last year. The trip included a Texans game in Houston; a Permian High School homecoming game in Odessa; a Texas versus Oklahoma game in Dallas and then a Dallas Cowboys home game. It’s football heaven.
What started out as an assignment became so much more for Engel, as you can hear in this interview I did with Ej “The Rainmaker” Garr on Sports Palooza Radio.
“Texas’s dedication to the college game make it nationally relevant in nearly every other state. For so many in Texas, the college season trumps that of high school or the pros.”
What I love about this book is that it’s not just a play-by-play of the four games, although that part of the story is done so well you feel like you’re at each one of them. What I like is the story also tells you about the other part of football — the people, the food, the towns, the marching bands, and especially the passion. Engel shares it all. He goes into the locker rooms of the players and shares what it’s really like when a team wins and when a team loses.
“The reputation of football in Texas is not too dissimilar from a piece of brisket here: there’s just something different, and better about it.” — Mac Engel, talking about KD’s Bar-B-Q, Midland. ”
He talks about religion before football and the impact that it has on the local Victoria’s Secret store on game day.
Pigskin Rapture: Four Days in the Life of Texas Football captures not just the action on the field, but all of the the sights, sounds, and smells of a state smitten with football: from K-D’s Barbecue in Midland, to the rarefied air of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’s private box in AT & T Stadium. Here, too, are the more subtle and occasionally unseen manifestations of Texas football culture: a homeless man who resides on a practice field in Houston; the cavernous remains of the Astrodome; the proud high school where Andrew Luck played; the Australian woman who made the Cowboy’s cheerleading squad, having never watched an NFL game; and the hangover a West Texas town continues to endure nearly three decades following the publication of Friday Night Lights.
Mac Engel s a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Since 1998, he has covered the Texas Rangers, Dallas Stars, and Dallas Cowboys as well as colleges, high schools, and the Olympics. His Big Mac Blog was named the best blog in Texas by the Associated Press in 2012.
This book would make a cool holiday present (you know the holiday shopping season isn’t too far away, so why not keep this on your wish list too?). You don’t have to love Texas football to like the book. Just a love of football is good enough.
For more information on Mac, visit http://www.star-telegram.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/mac-engel/
For more information on Ron Jenkins, visit http://ronjenkinsphoto.com/
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