Friday Night Fever

It is that time of year again:  Football season.

If you are not from Texas, or not lived in Texas, one of the parts of our culture that may be unusual is our rabid fanaticism for high school football.  Especially here in West Texas, in the shadow of the famed Permian Panthers.  I live about an hour from Odessa, and have seen many Permian games.  I played college ball with a few Permian players.  A breed all their own, with plenty documented about their program in the book Friday Night Lights (not the movie or series…those are over dramatized to an extreme degree).

High school football is much like going to a major college level game in terms of turnout.  No, you won’t often find crowds over 100,000 people, but a Permian vs. Midland Lee game can pack in quite a crowd.  Entire economies are built around it, with the games supporting the athletic programs for the remainder of the year.

As much a social event as anything else, you often find it a source of teen drama and kids playing tag under the bleachers.  It is a place where the communities come together to cheer for a common cause and “be seen” in the social circles of the town.  Businesses all represent, both with advertising dollars and making sure that they are “seen” as well.  Regardless of race, class, religion, or political persuasion, the entire community comes out to support their sons, nephews, cousins, and grandchildren.

If you happen to be in the great state of Texas on a Friday night (or maybe a Saturday morning in some metro areas), look up who is playing.  Most often you can see the stadium lights if you look around the sky, and can find the field pretty easily.  Frequently you will get a chance to see a few future NFL players.


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