I saw my first semi-pro game as a kid in the mid-1970s. The team was the Baltimore Eagles of the Interstate Football League. I was hooked from the beginning. This was real, grass-roots football played by honest-to-goodness hometown heroes. My enthusiasm for the game has since inspired me to write The Semi-Pros, a story about a determined team that reinvigorates the spirit and fortunes of a struggling mill town. I researched semi-pro football extensively to ensure the portrayal is as realistic as possible. I also treat the game with respect. As much as anything, The Semi-Pros is a tribute to the men who played the sport over the last century.