friday night lights.
now to say that football is huge in texas is a horrific understatement that doesn’t even begin to brush the surface.
however, before i went to a real high school game a few weeks ago, i had never been really experienced texas football to its full extent outside of coach taylor and tim riggins. (swoon.) and i’m pretty sure that the games that i did go to occurred before i had friday night gymnastics practice or before i could protest and stay home alone (i had a bit of a nonconformist phase), oh and the fact that the football team really sucked when i was in high school.
you may think that the crowd in this photo looks a little sparse… but thats because we had to get there almost an hour before kickoff so we could get good seats on the other side… where it was packed. the side pictured above is the home side, meaning my old high school’s side. we, however, were sitting in the opposing team’s section. which isn’t actually that odd for me (nonconformist yet again), but we had to sit where we did so my mom could get all of the gossip from her friends who teach with her at the visiting high school.
these two schools are apparently huge rivals now as they are both located in my town, just on opposite sides. so it is only fitting that they call this match up ‘the fight for 518,’ which is the road that runs straight through the town and connects the two schools.
farm road 518, that is.
but i don’t live in the boonies.
its just… texas… shut up.
whatever. so anyway, this rivalry didn’t exist when i was coming up because the opposing school wasn’t even built yet. this school was brand new as of my first year of college, and it is already bursting at the seams. which just goes to show you how quickly my town has been growing.
see? not the boonies.
what was really incredible about this game was the fact that the houston news was going to be covering it. see every friday local 2 news has a program called ‘friday football frenzy’ during which their sports guy, randy mcilvoy, covers one game a week. and when i say cover… i really mean cover. the schedule for the coaches, cheerleaders, and silverados dance team (HA.) began with greeting a newscaster at 4:30am to have footage for the morning news preparing houston for the big game later than night. so, its safe to say… its a big damn deal.
this game was important, not just because of the cross-city rivalry, but because springs was on a bit of a winning streak and it was getting close to the playoffs. they had started off the season a little rough and lost the first few games, but since then they had gone on to win five in a row. with only two games before the playoffs began, you could understand why the feeling in the stadium was… electric. and i spent the time before the game marveling at all of the camo in the stadium and getting made fun of because i went to creek.
but really… the only wildcats that i give a damn about wear purple.
so its a whole lot of wasted breath trying to put me down over something like my high school.
also the woman making fun of me was actually quite hilarious. because every little quip was done with the thickest drawl you ever did hear. and i was too busy taking in all of the country happening around me as if i was a sociologist studying these people and their way of life.
no paper signs that the cheerleaders slaved over all week. no, that’s amateur. they have a big blow up arch that they stalk through arm in arm until they got part of the way down the field and then the broke into a run to the cheers and hootin’ of the crowd, filled with ex- and future texas football players.
and there’s a fog machine.
see this is how they getcha. those kids are the future of texas football (and cheerleading). they put them on the field and let them hang out with the mascot and bask in the glory of the lights and feel the astroturf under their feet to instill a sense of tradition and love for the game. they stand right there while the players, their heroes, run past them like giants.
ok, so i was jealous of them.
i really think that the best part of the game was listening to the people around me.
‘who is that #14?? he’s fast!’
‘oh damn… i can’t remember his name. i just call him kentucky… because he’s from kentucky.’
‘yeah, that scrappiness is appalachia born.’
ok so maybe that last comment was mine… but everyone laughed but didn’t seem to disagree with me. which was funny because who the hell knows if people from appalachia are scrappy?? if you just say things with enough conviction… people will believe you.
my favorite comment of course was a comment from a random fan that would not have any sort of pull to make this happen. a creek player ran a particularly good play through a lot of traffic and gained something like forty-five yards or something crazy, when i heard:
‘who the hell is that?!’
‘i don’t know… but we’ll rent him an apartment!’
oh… inappropriate jokes about illegal recruitment are always funny. other favorite crowd members include women who don’t seem to understand the game but yell things loudly just the same. like the woman two rows behind me who would yell ‘GIT ‘EM!!’ before the ball was even snapped and before there even was someone to ‘git.’
‘ma’am, with all due respect, that was a fumble and a recovery.’
how that man had the patience and manners to deal with that woman so gracefully, i will never understand.
high schoolers are also an important part of the audience, but they are significantly less productive than even the crazy woman who didn’t understand the game. see, going to a game as a high schooler is not about watching the game, or cheering your team on. its about being seen. so all of the teenagers spend the entirety of the game walking back and forth along the bleachers from one endzone to the other. which is why you should never sit in the front two or three rows. also why i always thought going to games in high school was stupid.
apart from the constant teenager parade, it really was a good game. creek’s quarterback threw the ball, which everyone thought would be a touchdown pass, except that it was picked off by a springs player and returned for a 95 yard touchdown. it was just incredible.
disagreements with the referees and with other fans were just as exciting as yells through a texas drawl are hysterical, especially when the person yelling is wearing a ten gallon cowboy hat, and work boots.
at halftime the score was 37-7, with springs leading. and as the players exited the field, the asshole coach from creek…
i know he’s an asshole because he was my freshman english teacher.
‘we’re going to write enough notes so cori can’t do homework for other classes in my class.’
turns out it was more like notes for 15 minutes, then i finished all my homework for that night.
do. not. mess. with. me.
anyway, the asshole coach from creek brought his players towards the springs side of the field to exit instead of taking the appropriate exit designed to keep the players (and fans) away from one another. so, as it is human nature, the springs fans started booing the players as they waiting on our side to exit after the springs players had left the turf. in return, the creek players began flipping the bird and the crowd started hollerin’ louder.
‘oh my word!’
‘oh my god – how tacky!’
‘IS THIS HOW YOU BRING UP YOUR PLAYERS COACH??’
so we decided that we didn’t need to see springs put the nail in the coffin and we’d just head home. also in case that little stunt started a riot later on.
but not before i got a few pictures of the halftime show.
according to one of my mom’s friends, who went to another rival high school, they’ve had the same uniform since the mid-eighties.
why? i have no idea. i just kept asking ‘is this really happening?!’
‘but is dip ok?’
‘oh by all means!’
i can’t wait for the next game.