I recently finished watching Friday Night Lights with my girlfriend. We went through Season 1 in a week and I really feel like I grew with that team and town. The ups and downs, the bittersweet victories, and support and reversely unscrupulous demands that are placed on these children. Since I’ve read the Wikipedia page on the book and have been to two high school football games, I’m going to assume that I can pick out what’s accurate and what’s been exaggerated dramatic effect.
1) Being a high school football coach in a small town in Texas is the hardest job in the world.
Holy cow. I was seriously stressed out in the beginning of the series. They would not let Coach Taylor have a minute to himself. Coaching is a 24/7/365 job. Just like politics and women’s reproductive rights, everyone has an opinion whether or not they have the qualifications. And like politics, you have people your beholden to, doubters, enemies, friendemies, and everything in-between waiting for you to fail. But when he pulls something off, it is pure adrenaline and a part of me wishes I had paid more attention to the playbook in Techmo Super Bowl. Maybe I’d be a coach in Texas right now. (“NO” was the supportive girlfriend’s response. She must be concerned about my stress levels.)
2) All Football players own baseball bats.
Football is everything in this town. They mentioned a basketball team once but we never see it. We never once hear about a baseball team or little league. So why does EVERY SINGLE player in town seem to own a BASEBALL BAT?
3) Timmy Riggins/Taylor Kitsch has heart.
“I can see why they keep putting this guy in movies” my girlfriend says as if reading my mind. An egg sandwich did not immediately get made so I assume her powers are still developing. Timmy/Taylor really has the ice cold bastard who’s heart of gold slowly develops as he fights his demons thing going on. That’s a great recipe for Gambit and space-tarzan if as ask me. Battleship doesn’t count because he and Landry basically reprising their roles in Football and Crucifictorius Didn’t Work Out (directed by Friday Nights show-runner Peter Berg). He just needed better scripts. And editors. And producers. Or maybe Agent.
4) These people have great metabolisms.
The amount of fast food these people consume is insane.
5) The kids are often times the adults.
As I mentioned before the amount of responsibility placed on these kids is ridiculous. Often driving them to make bad decisions. Football is their favorite and only real form of escapism. Consequentially It is the only glue holding together their community. Friday nights people can forget about their lives, their daily struggles and ailments.The rest of the week it’s power and influence is present through sports talk radio, chit chat with the corner store owner and even at business openings or church sermons.
As a result of this dependency the team’s success reflects how healthy the community is and how they even treat each other. The game is often more important to the adults, maybe sentimentally, or because they have a greater need for the escapism. So much so that sometimes the adults need to be reminded that it’s just a game and the children end up reminding them that there’s a lot more to this life than football (obviously they not as important as football but still of significant fractional importance that it may deserve some attention; like college, income, or christian speed metal).
In terms of fictitious High School Football teams, I’ve been a strong supporter of San Dimas High since 1988. SAN DIMAS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL RULES! But I think there may be room in my heart for the Panthers, at least enough to start up Season 2. Game of Thrones doesn’t start for a couple of weeks.