I’ll never forget the day I knocked on the colossal wooden door of David and Colleen Baker’s home anxious to interview David for the book. Prior to that day David and I shared a few emails to set everything up, and I knew from his communication that I’d meet a very nice man. Other than that the only other thing I knew about David was what Sam Baker said in his interview: “You’ve gotta talk to my dad. He sees football like you do, as a philosophical interpretation of life. He loves Coach Miller, and he’s an English major.”
When David opened the front door I stood in front of a mountain of a man nearly seven feet tall with stalwart shoulders. It was a bit like a gnome meeting a giant. David’s wife, Colleen, approached then and they led me to a room with enormous couches—something that I’ve learned to expect in the homes of massive football players. Every single time I sit upon the fine leather, and slide back, my feet leave the ground by inches.
A shelf high upon the wall behind David and Colleen displayed colorful helmets from every single Arena football team. I had no idea that David Baker had served as the Arena Football Commissioner for eleven-and-a-half years. What a quintessential environment to listen to this great man venerate Miller with the same breath that he used to revere USC’s Pete Carroll, and to hear him intersperse wisdom about great coaching with quotes from literature and famous generals.
As I work on this second draft, changing its structure, watching it form into a completely different but much better book, I listened again to David’s interview for inspiration. The book will be peppered with his quotes, building up Miller even more than I thought possible. And I’m haunted, yet challenged by something David said to me. He said, “You owe it to him to do with this book what he’s done with his life.”
Yes, sir. Challenge accepted.