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Friday Night Lights – It’s Real Y’all! High School Football in Texas

Friday Night Lights – It’s Real Y’all!  High School Football in Texas

Last year, I was at a conference in Spain and I met two British ladies who worked for a travel company. When they heard I was from Texas, the first thing they asked me was if Friday Night Lights was an accurate portrayal of high school football in Texas. Yes ma’am!

I might not have answered that way if things had gone differently. Growing up in Texas, I was always aware of the importance of high school football. But I was homeschooled in high school, and grew up in a big urban area. It tempered the football fever quite a bit.

Then I married James.

James is a farm boy from a small west Texas town and he was a high school football player. Scratch that. He was a high school quarterback.

We met in Minnesota, so we were engaged before I ever visited his home town. The weekend of our wedding shower, we drove down. But before the Saturday shower, we had Friday Night Football. I soon found out James’ younger brother was playing running back, and was one of the stars of the show. The football game was clearly going to be a family event.

We drove passed a dark and empty downtown, as pretty much everything shut down during the game. As we arrived in “our seats” (blankets were placed on the bleachers earlier in the day to save spots), I heard people discussing the players like they were pros. Plays from the games prior were discussed in detail. Weaknesses and strengths were all known by those present, and the coach’s calls were second guessed. At one point, someone near me yelled “Somebody hit somebody!” James’ brother was injured above the nose and blood streamed down his face. They taped him up and sent him back out, an action that would be repeated several times.

That was seven years ago. I’ve become convinced that a version of the TV Show “Friday Night Lights” is playing out there and in every other small town in Texas. So if you are ever in west Texas on Friday night, just follow the lights…


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  1. Marcia 23 May, 2013

    I never did get into FNL or football but I do know how serious some people are about it. If I ever make it to west Texas, I’ll think about following the lights.

  2. Tonya {The Traveling Praters} 23 May, 2013

    I don’t get football. This, coming from a mom that drove her child over 2 hours a day so he could play for a homeschool team. 🙂

    My husband played. He enjoys watching it. But he is not fanatical about it. We found we didn’t really fit in with the football crowd. They were appalled that we did not allow our son to miss our Alaskan cruise (planned & paid for before he was on the team) so he wouldn’t miss a game.

  3. Ann 24 May, 2013

    Clear Eyes! Full Hearts! Can’t Lose!
    I was late into watching FNL. I started last year about 2 days after finding out I was pregnant with my second child and wanting nothing more than to move back to the states (I’m an expat in Germany). This show made me incredibly homesick, even though I never lived in TX and never got too into high school football. I eventually got over my homesickness (which happened as soon as I finished watching every season), but this post is making me ache for FNL now! I think I need to go to TX this fall.

  4. Lisa Goodmurphy 24 May, 2013

    I’ve never watched Friday Night Lights but I have always wondered if everything that I’ve heard about high school football in Texas was true. Sounds like it’s a bit comparable to how a lot of people feel about hockey on this side of the border!

  5. eileen at FamiliesGo! 24 May, 2013

    I feel about FNL the way most of the US probably felt about Seinfeld when it was on. It’s an interesting show and entertaining, but it’s as unrelated to my day-to-day life as would be remote village in Brazil. Neither my urban high school or even more urban university even had football teams.

  6. Jennifer Howze 24 May, 2013

    I grew up in a midsized Texas town. The whole city didn’t shut down on Friday nights but games were a big deal, at least for those of us in high school. I still get a little jump in my stomach and a feeling of excitement when there’s a chill in the air, I see the lights of a small stadium and hear a marching band.

    Love that quote too: “Somebody hit somebody!”

  7. steph 30 May, 2015

    which town is this? I’m visiting west texas and would love to check out a high school football game!