Monday, November 7, 2011

Friday Night Lights

Friday night I attended another Texas institution, a high school football game.  I went to the game with my wife; her friend's husband is a coach for one for the teams.  I am a big football fan and also played in high school.  Although, I was 5'9" and 165 lbs. and I started at center and defensive end, so my experience doesn't quite compare to a lot of the teams here.  Heck, the Friday nights at our school took place Saturday morning since our stadium didn't have lights.  Like most things, high school football is most certainly bigger in Texas.  First of all the stadium we went to held over 14,000 people and is shared by three schools; the stadium at my high school held about a tenth of that.  The stadium at my high school also didn't 
have: bleachers on the other side for the opposing team's fans, a scoreboard with a video screen and instant replay, or a tower that seems to have room for coaches, scorekeepers and even a few luxury suites.  With high school stadiums like this, it's no wonder that Jerry Jones felt the need to build such a gargantuan stadium for the Cowboys.  The stature of the players was also on a different level, there were only five or so players on either team that were smaller than I was when I played.  The support of the community was also very impressive.  Parents were there not only to support their kids who were playing, but also to support their kids on the drill team and band, complete with buttons with pictures of their children.  Beyond the students and parents, there were also fans there to support the same high school football team they have been supporting for decades.  I can only imagine what it would be like to play on a team with so much enthusiastic backing behind it.     Despite the bigger stadium, bigger players, etc. it was still a group of 16, 17, and 18 year-old kids playing the same game I played years ago.  I hope the fact that it is a group of kids playing a game is not lost on them and they are actually having fun in midst of the "bigness" of everything else, or on the coaches, parents and fans around them.  My wife's friend said that maybe 5-10 of the players will play in college, for the rest of the team this was their last game.  Here's hoping no matter what they go on to do that they've had some memorable Friday nights under the lights.  I was certainly thankful to experience and get a better understanding of life in the big D.

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