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Friday Night Lights


Football is BACK!  But people forget that football actually never left, it was only the professionals that were arguing over who gets this million versus who gets this billion.  If you ever really want to see the essence of football most people say go to a pee-wee game, but I beg to differ.  I recommend a high school game.  A pee-wee football game is fun, don’t get me wrong, but high school is where players begin to actually HATE the other team and LOVE the game of football.  There is actually some pressure to win in high school football with jobs on the line especially in a state like Texas where people actually pray to regular God and then the God of Football.

I’m not sure what it is about this year, but I’ve been missing football something vicious.  I even once tweeted that I missed 2-a-days in early August, even though the temperatures were in triple digits.  WTF?  Growing up in the big city, then moving to a small town gave me a new appreciation for high school football…yeah, moving from 4A/5A schools to a 2A school will definitely do that to a person.  Guess that’s why I connect to stuff like Varsity Blues & Friday Night Lights (movie and the show).  Because if you’ve never seen an entire town shut down for a football game, it’s something to see.  I talking about all the businesses in town will close at 6p so that the owners/boosters would have time to get to the game, even though you’d still have those one or two non-Texas probably foreign business owners who didn’t get the memo and try to stay open….however what they didn’t realize was that there would be no customers.  I know in the NCAA benefits are very illegal, but in small town high school football, it pays to be an All-State defensive back….I’ll just leave it at that.  Some of you guys and gals may or may not feel me, but here is what I miss about high school football.

Vince Young, Texas High School Phenom & NCAA Nat'l Champ

I miss the kid who does his job game in and game out and never gets his name in the paper. I miss the kid who rushes for 345 yards on 6 carries with 6 touchdowns. I miss it!  I miss the coach who calls a hook-and-ladder with 6 seconds left to win the game. I miss the coach who calls the triple-punt pass only to have it intercepted for a touchdown. I miss coaches who like blood and guts and would only throw the ball if they thought God himself ordered it. I miss the coach who spreads the field and throws it all over the place even if at the end of the year their quarterback only completed 30% of his passes and the team went 2-8.

I miss the parents, girlfriends, and siblings who live and die with every snap of the ball hoping their boy will make the big play and more importantly will finish the game uninjured. I miss the parent who misses the big game in order to work the concession stand to raise money for that much-needed blocking sled. I miss the parents who shake the coach’s hand win or lose and hug their son after the game no matter how much it embarrasses him.

I miss the cheerleaders, yes Lord I miss them cheerleaders, who give their all every game and keep cheering even when the less-than-faithful fans have given up and gone home. I miss the cheerleaders that keep on plugging even though it started raining and the temperature dropped to 33 degrees. I miss it when the cheerleaders run down to the end zone to cheer for an extra point try. Maybe we need to pay them back by attending their competitions (yes they are athletes).

I miss the announcers at the game. I miss the understated guy who simply gives us ball carrier, tackler, yards gained and down and distance. I also miss the guy who thinks he’s John Madden and gets all fired up, questions referees calls and says hello to his friends in the crowd over the public PA.

I miss a little trash talking in the paper and a little smack on the field. I miss watching the pre-game warm-ups when both teams are just trying to look meaner than the other. I miss watching a team gather together to pray before a game even though no adult told them they should. I miss watching handshakes after a game when both teams know they faced an opponent who gave his all.

I miss football players strapping on their pads in silence while coaches sit in their office and chew their nails. I miss it when the “two’s” get in the game and actually score. I miss watching the JV players and little league players walk around with their jerseys on. I miss it when the coach keeps reminding his kids to “get back,” and then gets tangled in the chains the very next play.

I miss a big hit, a qb sack, a 90 yard run, a blocked kick, a broken play that goes for a touchdown, a long bomb (even if it’s dropped).  I miss onside kicks, 4th down and goal, 3rd and short, 1st and 25. I miss it that I know the difference in a muff and a fumble. I miss safeties. I also miss trick plays.

I miss that I know the difference in a dive, a power and a trap. I miss wondering if the defense really plans to sit in that 4-4 all night or if they will adjust after another couple of big runs. I miss wondering if that linebacker is Division I material.

Drew Brees, Texas High School Star QB & Homecoming King, Super Bowl Champion

I miss Senior’s Night and Homecoming. I miss a long road trip and miss hosting our most hated rivals.

I miss it when a game is “for all the marbles,” and I miss it when the kids are playing for nothing but pride. I miss kids who are honorable mention for All-District and I miss kids on the Scout Team D. I miss people diligently keeping stats on every play of the game and the four mangers who keep everything working smoothly. I miss the way the field looks when it is freshly lined and mowed. I miss the way it looks on week 8 when a year’s worth of battles and drought has rendered it mostly grass-less.

I miss that football players are football players at least for four months a year instead of being rich kids or poor kids or white kids or black kids or cool kids or nerds or smart kids or dumb kids.  I miss that kids never forget their coaches, and I miss the coach’s families for letting them do such a thankless job and touch the world in such a special way.

I miss “sticker day”.  Sticker Day was when the coaches would review the previous week’s game film then pass out the helmet stickers for certain accomplishments such as touchdowns, interceptions, sacks, fumble recoveries, etc.  I used to love to fill up one side of my helmet before I moved on to the other side.  I miss lining up on kick-offs and the Hey Song comes on, that’s when I knew it was time to go HIT SOMEBODY!

This season, I’m going to have to ease out of my house on a Friday night and catch a local high school game…it just HAS to happen.  I know Katy is currently ranked #2 in the state and I believe Pearland is still in the Top 25, so it’s time to go see these local kids while I can afford to…before they go off to D1 schools and ticket prices shoot up.

Thanks for tuning in……

BROWNLEE

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16 thoughts on “Friday Night Lights

  1. I can remember suffering through four years of deplorable Willowridge Football, and walking around…but as soon as it was half time everybody was glued to their seating area (not sitting down though) because our BAND was getting ready to show out…Great Blog!

  2. Man you have summed up Texas HS football. I played ball at an elite HS in Chicago and in TX. the difference is mind blowing! this article is chron.com worthy and i’m going to make it happen.

  3. I feel like Ariel. I almost started crying when I first read this. And, I DEFINITELY had the least school spirit out of ALL the Lamar High School Redskins EVER (don’t blame me. I went to Madison freshman year). You got me all excited to go cheer for the little bro. And made me more excited that I have one more little brother to watch in a few more years. And even though I wasn’t a cheerleader…I’m VERY touched that you consider them to be athletes. It’s true, but it’s OSM that you recognize them as such. Anyway, great blog. #GoSkins!!!

  4. Man, you really got in my TX Girl heart with the Hey Song. I was an athletic trainer all four years and football was my pride and joy. I used to get a little too excited when that song came on. I miss being at school at 7:00am before school for rehabs and not being ready to leave until 7:30pm after practice was over and all ice massages had been completed. The superstitions that I enabled, the cramps I helped work out, the strawberry burns that I cleaned and covered, the dislocated shoulders I popped back into place, and what I miss the most is standing on the sidelines and getting to hear those crashing noises so well you could almost feel them. High school football is an amazing culture “Deep in the Heart of Texas”.

    Oh and I fully agree, cheerleaders are athletes I helped heal many a pulled, strained, or stressed muscle, tendon, and fracture from those ladies.

  5. Sorry this is Ashanti not Ant:
    Man, you really got in my TX Girl heart with the Hey Song. I was an athletic trainer all four years and football was my pride and joy. I used to get a little too excited when that song came on. I miss being at school at 7:00am before school for rehabs and not being ready to leave until 7:30pm after practice was over and all ice massages had been completed. The superstitions that I enabled, the cramps I helped work out, the strawberry burns that I cleaned and covered, the dislocated shoulders I popped back into place, and what I miss the most is standing on the sidelines and getting to hear those crashing noises so well you could almost feel them. High school football is an amazing culture “Deep in the Heart of Texas”.

    Oh and I fully agree, cheerleaders are athletes I helped heal many a pulled, strained, or stressed muscle, tendon, and fracture from those ladies.

    • I loved the trainers…especially when I strained my hammy my Junior year. And for some reason I would always sprain my ankle doing something I was supposed to….like during basketball season I’d sprain it playing a pickup game of football and vice versa….call me retarded.

  6. You didn’t mention the drill team! I was required to rock those cowgirl boots, hat, fringe skirt and sequence faithfully every game night! You haven’t lived until you have done a jump split into a rain soaked football field in a skirt with the band blasting behind you. Lol Loved high school!

    • Bet that was a nice look on you….LOL. I apologize about not mentioning the drill team. I must admit that I was the stereotypical spoiled athlete, felt I was untouchable and better than most. So if I ever had a problem, academically or anything I’d simply find a coach to fix it. So the drill team slipped my mind, even though drill team girls are ummm “fun”, HA!

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