I love football. For the past couple decades, that has meant college football, but it wasn’t always that way. Growing up working class in a small town, football means Friday nights and high schoolers running the Wing-T.
I haven’t been to a high school football game in over 15 years, but rewatching Friday Night Lights has my thoughts returning to all those cold fall nights under the lights. If I can’t watch high school football—going alone to watch a game with strangers at a high school that to me is just a place to vote ain’t gonna do it—at least I can write about it and revisit the Friday Night Lights franchise in a blog series.
I will be reopening the 1990 book that started it all. I read it for the first time about 15 years ago, and I haven’t reread it since the movie and show came out. I just bought the movie on blu-ray. I don’t think I’ve see it since it was in theaters. The book, in particular, is underappreciated, but it is the show I really love. I have it in my top three all-time television shows with The Wire and The Shield, and rewatching it over the past month did nothing to lower it in my estimation. The blog series will run weekly on Fridays and will probably stretch well into the fall—I’m going to cover the book, the movie, and all five seasons of the show, along with probably 2-4 essays/other posts.
I spent five years living in Houston and north Florida and I loved it, but it robbed me of the magic of fall when the weather turns crisp. I’ve sweated through my fair share of afternoon college football games in September, but, to me, football will always be a cold weather sport. I may have grown up in the South, but it was in the mountains, and those mountains get mighty cold after dark in late October. It was hot chocolate to warm fingers stiff with the cold as a kid and scoring my single, solitary touchdown in the freezing rain during my one glorious year playing high school football.
In a small town, high school football was where it was at. Most people didn’t go to college, and my uncle and paw paw may have been State fans, but they’d rather trek 45 minutes for a high school away game than 4 hours for a college game. The most vicious rivalries were crosstown, not interstate (which led me to make a bad choice to fight redistricting). We may not have had the big stadium my wife’s school had in Texas, but at least we had our own stadium. Friday nights was pissing in trough urinals and playing pickup games behind the bleachers as a kid and flirting with girls and seeing everybody in middle school. Going to Applebee’s after the game (blatant product placement in the show, but that don’t mean it ain’t right) and then partying in an apple orchard in high school.
Posts kick off next week with a review of Season 1 of the show.