Friday Night Lights

I recently read H. G. Bissinger’s Pulitzer Prize winning book, Friday Night Lights, a great read. My father-in-law and I both had copies and on a recent visit here, we both read and talked about the book that Sports Illustrated calls the best football book of all time. But football is not the real topic of the book as much as human nature, culture, a picture of Americana that helps us understand the landscape through the lens of a football-crazed city. The book burned some in the city, particularly the coach, Gary Gaines, who along with many others perhaps thought the one-year live in reporting that Bissinger did would produce a “Hoosiers” book. It didn’t, but the long-term effect of the book perhaps might be a more healthy perspective on sports across the country.

By Greg Taylor Posted in General

2 comments on “Friday Night Lights

  1. Our family watched “The Man from Snowy River” as the entertainment portion of our Valentine’s evening together after my son and I cooked steak and baked potatoes for Karen and the girls. I wanted to teach Brandon something about getting in touch with his feminine side (that it is ok to cook and wait on your mom and sisters; or someday your wife).
    As we watched the end, it occurred to me that even in a movie such as this, testosterone saturated male behavior was being glorified as the young boy points his horse down the mountain and gallops down in a daredevil moment, then returns later with the herd of prized wild horses. Thus the title, “The MAN from snowy river”

    Would he be a MAN if he had failed?

    Are our sons devalued as male leaders when they lose on the athletic fields?

    In their own eyes, do they still feel that they are valued when they lose?

    How do we teach excellence and commitment and effort without tipping the scales too heavily toward Machiavellism? (is that a word?)

    I struggle with that as my son plays in a highly competitive football league on a very much winning oriented team. Great coaches, great kids.

    But what messages do we send them about winning and being a man?

    Are they connected?



  2. Just wathced Friday Night Lights on video. Probably should have read the book, but I think the movie did capture some of what the book musy have meant to capture. Football became Odess’a narrative for meaning, for value, for success.

    The quarterback’s smile at the end of the show was redemptive. It was then that he was him and not a cog in the Odessa machine.

    Oh to bust out of the constricting narratives to which we are beholden.


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