I’ve been slyly mentioning, here and on Twitter, that I’ve been working on something really, really cool; this is it. Plimpton! is a documentary about the life and work of George Plimpton, currently in post-production. To celebrate that work, the folks behind the film are doing an online book club. Each month, they’re highlighting a specific part of George Plimpton’s body of work, and posting from people who’ve been touched by it. April is Paper Lion’s month.
The first Paper Lion story that went up was by Bill Dow, a writer who’s done a lot of excellent freelance work covering Detroit sports. Dow coordinated the 40th anniversary celebration of Paper Lion at Ford Field, and . . . well, read the article. It’s a powerful story, and gives you a glimpse into how classy, humble, and and gracious a man George Plimpton was.
The second Paper Lion story at the Plimpton! Book Club is my own. Literally, it’s the story of how my parents turned me on to the book (they actually bought me a copy), my thoughts and feelings while reading it, and what it’s meant to me—both as a Lions fan, and as a writer-y type guy.
Doing research for this piece, I was amazed at just how well-traveled, widely read, and influential George Plimpton was, and is. I knew he was a mainstay at Sports Illustrated—as I say in the story, as a tyke I read his later SI work—but, to borrow a phrase from Luke Poling, one of the film’s co-creators, Plimpton was an “intellectual Forrest Gump.” I couldn’t believe how incredibly well-connected he was to, not to mention beloved by, so many great people. On top of that, well, he was an amazing writer.
I’m really excited to see Plimpton! when it’s released, and I’m jazzed about following the book club as it goes from month to month. If you’d like to, too, I’d suggest you subscribe to the Plimpton! RSS feed, and follow @PlimptonMovie on Twitter. In the meantime, I’d love if you’d give my piece a read, and let me know what you think. If you dig it, pass it on.