22 September 2006

Friday Night Lights

I grew up beneath the Friday Night Lights of west Texas. If you read the book by the same name (or saw the film), I am here to tell you that people's lives really do revolve around high school football. Yes, I do know many families who held back their sons an extra year before kindergarten because he would be a bigger football player later. I've seen marching band programs with budgets in the tens of thousands. I've watched dancing mascots and halftime shows comprised of border kids singing songs from "Hee Haw." I even saw a documented case of mass hysteria take place one Homecoming evening. I've been on buses going to towns where the only way to navigate things was to look for the stadium lights and drive toward them.

I can't remember a fall evening where the stadium wasn't full---not just with people from town, but from the "vistors"' town, too. I miss the cool autumn nights...Frito Pie...and all of the social activities. There were road trips, crazy fans with guns, and more.

When Friday rolls around now, I get the itch to see a game. There's just a different sort of energy with high school football---a vibe you don't find anywhere else. Here in the northwest, football isn't as serious of a sport. It is a game and not a way of life. It is still the only time staff at my school ever got together (other than an end of year party). Tonight is the annual "do." I'm no longer officially associated with the school, but was still invited along to celebrate the Friday Night Lights once more.

I have a lot of fond memories of time beneath the Friday Night Lights. I am glad to see that this tradition continues to thrive...across generations and across the country. Go get your popcorn and enjoy the show.


Ms. H said...

OHMYGOSH!!! I can't believe you grew up in West Texas....I did TOO! In a verrrrrry teeny tiny little town called Dalhart. (Yes, it's the one on the way to the slopes in NM/CO.) I'm guessing you're from Midland/Odessa?

Ryan said...

Everyone should read the book. One of the most stirring ever; you feel like you're there.

Back in high school I was the trainer for the football team, and I lived for Fridays. As soon as school let out I was out getting the field ready; stretching and ankle taping began around 5:00; and during the game proper I was absolutely in the moment.

It seemed so vitally important at the time.