The latest news in my bookish world is a somewhat unusual project: a coffee-table book about a football stadium. I’m one of several contributors to Lee Pace’s “Football in a Forest: The Life and Times of Kenan Memorial Stadium,” a lavishly illustrated history of the University of North Carolina’s sports stadium in Chapel Hill. Kenan has also been the site of a few concerts over the years, most notably a September 2003 Bruce Springsteen show that I attended.
The show was great, of course, and I reviewed it for the News & Observer. But the most memorable part actually happened long before showtime, when I got to accompany a well-connected friend on a backstage visit. That’s where we encountered the late great Terry Magovern, a former Navy Seal who worked for many years as Springsteen’s personal assistant. Magovern was also in charge of gathering “local-color research,” which was how my friend and I found ourselves being grilled about North Carolina trivia “in case Bruce wants to say something onstage.” Turned out he did!
That wound up being the basis of my contribution to this book, an essay titled “A Visit From The Boss,” which can be found on pages 130-133 (accompanied by a spectacular onstage concert photo shot by Bernard Harris from the Durham Herald-Sun). Priced at $39.95, “Football in a Forest” is available at various brick-and-mortar stores around the Triangle including Chapel Hill’s Flyleaf Books, where Pace will do a reading-and-discussion event on Sept. 14; and Johnny T-Shirt, where Pace will be on Sept. 16. You can also order the book online here.
ADDENDUM (9/20/2016): Author interview about this book in the News & Observer.