Chad Conine is an author based in Waco who writes about the unofficial religion of Texas: sports.
“When I read Friday Night Lights when I was in middle school, I wanted to write books,” Conine says.
For his first book, Republic of Football, Conine gathered football lore from all over the state.
“I told a story from each town that I could get a story from,” Conine says. “And during that process, the University of Texas Press editor that I was working with came to me with an idea of 365 days of Texas sports.”
This led Conine to branch out and cover all different kinds of sports in his latest book, Texas Sports: Unforgettable Stories for Every Day of the Year, which features 365 of the most memorable moments in Texas sports history.
“The first day I wrote about was the University of Texas’s first football game in 1893, and the last thing I wrote about was Tim Duncan’s 250th NBA playoff game,” Conine says.
Conine says he wrote about whatever he could dig up, including a lot of things he already knew about. Here are a few of the sports legends Conine covered.
“Sharp shooting. A guy named Ad Toepperwein, who accomplished this amazing sharp shooting feat in San Antonio in the early 20th century,” Conine says. “I covered taekwondo. The first olympian from the United States. The first female medal-winner from the United States was a lady from Houston. I covered equestrian. I covered, obviously, golf and tennis and track and field. And then, believe it or not, there’s some football in there, too.”
Conine doesn’t want his book to be read over the course of a few weeks, like a novel. He says the book is best treated like an encyclopedia of Texas sports that can live on a table in your living room.
“It’s got this great index,” he says. “Every sport is listed separately. And then the next index is the actual index of names and places and nouns. And looking through it you just kind of go, ‘Wow, the broad spectrum of Texas sports, and the personalities and people that have come across Texas or that have played for Texas teams over the years, is pretty amazing.’”
Author Chad Conine is featured at this year’s Texas Book Festival.
Written by Kate Groetzinger.