City of Champions Project: Timeline of Events
2005: Humble Beginnings
To say that Diomedea Publishing and the "City of Champions Project" have humble origins would be an understatement. In 2005 while a senior at Western Michigan University Charles C Avison made a fantastic discovery. While taking a sports history class he happened across an unusual fact: In 1935-36 the Tigers, Lions and Red Wings had won their FIRST championships in the SAME season!
His initial goal was simply a two-page paper but there wasn't enough information in modern day books/internet to fill it! His next focus was a senior thesis based on this subject and when he turned to the original newspapers of 1935 to find more information he found something far greater than anything he could have imagined. A brief list of the events:
1935-36: The Greatest Season
*THE RISE OF JOE LOUIS FROM AN UNKNOWN TO AN INTERNATIONAL SUPERSTAR
*THE TIGERS, LIONS AND RED WINGS FIRST CHAMPIONSHIPS IN THE SAME SEASON
*30 OTHER CHAMPIONSHIPS IN VIRTUALLY EVERY SPORT
*A MASSIVE CELEBRATION DINNER AT THE MASONIC TEMPLE
*"CHAMPIONS DAY" A SPORTS HOLIDAY DECLARED BY THE GOVERNOR OF MICHIGAN AND CITY COUNCIL OF DETROIT
*A GIANT COMMEMORATIVE PLAQUE RECOGNIZING DETROIT AS THE "CITY OF CHAMPIONS" - SIGNED IN 1936 BY 48 U.S. GOVERNORS & PRESIDENT FDR!!
2005-2008: Book #1 & The Travelling Storyteller
Following his graduation from WMU in 2005, a far more thorough investigation of this story was undertaken and so much information discovered that the first book of the City of Champions trilogy was written and published (2008) through his new Detroit based Publishing company called "Diomedea Publishing."
Following the successful release of the first book a determined effort to approach the local media to help promote the story was attempted and failed. Why did it fail? Perhaps it was simply indifference to a story which happened "before our time." With zero media coverage, Charles was left with no other option but to tell this story and sell books, person-to-person, across the State of Michigan at every conceivable venue: art shows, libraries, museums, country clubs, flea markets, farmers markets, etc... Even patrons at apple orchards might be surprised to with a telling of the City of Champions story!
2008-2016: Books 2 & 3
For over six years Charles lived as a travelling storyteller while also working on two new books. These would be focused on the many players from the City of Champions season. In 2013, "Detroit City of Champions: The Players Volume I" was published. The Trilogy was completed in 2014 with the publishing of "Detroit City of Champions: The Players Volume II." In addition to the publication of the two books, several other events took place during these years. The most notable include:
1) Working with Christopher Boerma to create the "Champions Day" Wikipedia page. This page has become a magnet for a wealth of new information on the celebration party which took place at the end of the City of Champions season.
2) Partnering with the Detroit Historical Museum to receive recognition of "Champions Day" by Mayor Dave Bing as an official Detroit holiday.
3) Partnering with Tracy Irwin of the Historical Museum to discover the "City of Champions Plaque" in the Museum's archives. The plaque is now featured prominently in a main exhibit.
4) Partnering with Will McDowell of "Detroit Champions" which has led to the annual celebration of "Champions Day" in Detroit at a variety of venues. From the Grounds of Old Tiger Stadium to McShane's Irish Pub to the Detroit Historical Museum, Champions Day celebrants (and the celebration itself) grows each year and continues to be celebrated to the current day.
2017: Writing the City of Champions Movie
Having spent much of 2016 learning how to write a screenplay, Charles spent all of 2017 actually writing it. What emerged was a 9 part mini series (780 pages) that can be expanded to multiple seasons. The format is "a sports version of Band of Brothers." Filming has not yet begun as Charles seeks a studio that will maintain the story's integrity. Copies of the screenplay are available upon request.
2020: The Podcast
In mid-2020 Charles partnered with veteran radio host, James Flanagan to produce a podcast based on the City of Champions story. As of October 23rd, 2021 the pair have released 48 episodes.