Saturday, September 6, 2008

1st and 10 From The 20 On The Book Trail

Writing a book about high school football was an eye-opening experience on many fronts. It's created a small buzz within the prep football community, and everyone seems to have an opinion. I've tentatively decided to file that under the "all news is good news' category.

Yesterday I was yakking on the phone with Marc Secontine, owner of The Varsity Shop in downtown Birmingham, Michigan. Secontine's father, Vince, was the coach of the Birmingham High School Maples in the 1950s. For those that don't know, Birmingham High became Birmingham Seaholm. Secontine's also related to Birmingham Brother Rice football coach Al Fracassa.

Here's where the story gets good. Fracassa and I bumped into each other while I was walking out and he was waling into Eastern Michigan University's Rynearson Stadium. Naturally I shared the book with Coach Fracassa. His wife saw the copy I handed to Al and bought a copy for Secontine and had Al sign it for Marc. Little did she know that Secontine had purchased 20 copies from Arcadia Publishing directly to sell in his store.

The Varsity Shop has produced a table banner that will be making it's debut soon at a number of signings. It's this kind of enthusiasm for the book that warms my heart and tells me that, no matter the opinion of my book or my ability as a writer (or official for the matter), high school football is an important part of the community spirit in metro Detroit.

Library Event Nets Coach & Stories: This past Wednesday in Royal Oak I was fortunate to host a signing at Royal Oak's Public Library. Among the attendees were former Royal Oak Kimball HS/Royal Oak HS coach Terry Powers. Among his comments from Wednesday:

"We had good kids to pull from in Royal Oak, and I never had to ask my kids at Kimball to hit. That's one of the things about our teams that makes me proud. Win or lose you knew you had played Kimball."

Powers also talked about being hired at Kimball as it relates to the old Kimball-Dondero rivalry and what it was like to follow a legend.

"When I was hired the program was down, but it was made clear to me, 'That's the game you win, that Dondero game', and there was no two ways about it. I remember hearing the story about (Coach) Paul Temerian saying he was going to retire at the end of the 1982 season, but Dondero beat Kimball 35-0 (in the Silverdome). After the game he told Chuck Jones that he would coach another year -- that's a rivalry, making you stay another year so you don't go out like that against a rival."

~T.C. Cameron is the author of Metro Detroit's High School Football Rivalries, available at retailers everywhere.

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