Monday, July 25, 2011

Friday Night Memories

With the end of the televsion series "Friday Night Lights,"  (here on out known as FNL)  it congers up fond memories of football games in middle school (we'd always go to the high school games--where I proudly boasted how my sister was head cheerleader of the Warriors).  My crew and I would huddle down in the consessions and buy hot chocolate on November nights and cheer when the crowd erupted and sigh downtroddenly when it was required--though, the only thing we knew about football was that a Warrior with the ball running towards one end of the field was a good thing.  But that's pretty much all you have to know, right?  FNL, over it's 5 seasons, was a perfect representation of that memory to me.  Was it a perfect show?  No.  Season 3 attests to that.  But I believe these past 2 seasons were almost perfect.  But before we get there, let's recap: in seasons 1 and 2, Jason Street broke your heart, Tim Riggins stole it, and Matt Saracen brought it back all warm and fuzzy.  Season 3, however, became tiresome and soap opera-esque, almost as if the writers of the show only saw their audience as teenage girls who fought over Tim Riggins and whether Tyra was better than Lyla (ok, seriously, their names ryhme?).  But with the last 2 seasons, FNL reclaimed it's ability to pull on the heart strings just as the first 2 seasons.  It once again became a smart, important show about small towns in America, today--not yesterday, not tomorrow, but right now (despite the 1995 hot chocolate memory that spawned this post). Politics, family, friendship--all of these often-rambled about topics--are discussed with respect and thoughtfulness.   And the topic of race, which can so easily be overly understated or blatantly one sided,  is so carefully and beautifully discussed within this show.  We get a truer view of the relationship between black and white teenagers and their parents, coaches and teachers than most television shows or movies care to take the time to craft. To backtrack ('Cause through editing my blog, I've rambled even more and lost my train of thought.  Oh, aren't you glad you'd wasted time reading my dribble!!), the one thing that kept me coming back during Season 3, beside Matt Saracen's awesomeness--cause, seriously, how do you resist him? (The episode where he buries his father is probably the best episode of any television show I've seen--and I did watch all 6 seasons of Lost--multiple times)--was the Taylor family: specifically, Eric and Tami much more so than Julie.  Tami is my hero, pure and simple.  I want to be Tami Taylor when I grow up, please?  Eric is exactly the type of person that we all wish we had as a coach in our lives, whether we play sports or not. And, I think many women see Eric Taylor as an ideal husband/father--despite his numerous flaws.  That's what made this couple so great.  They were perfect, yet very much not.  You could really root for them, and suffered with them as they made those hard decisions that coaches, counselors and parents have to every day. FNL, with it's realistic portrayl of small town America, had the one thing that so many of our Cop/Crime drama shows and sarcastic comedies lack--true hope.  FNL proves to us that these memories created in our youth carry us through our lifetime.  The show tells us, without telling us, that we all will grow up, we all will make numerous mistakes, but we all will always be connected in some strange way to and through this experience of high school (unless you were home schooled-and I know nothing 'bout no home schoolin'). And whether your high school was a football school, a basketball school, or did not even have money for a sports program (just like East Dillon continually struggled with), we are all connected in that need to pull for something, to win in the purest form.  Forget all this emo, 'my heart hurts' crap!  Everyone wants to be happy and successful.  Everyone wants to do good, be praised, and ultimately to be a part of something bigger than just themselves. To me, this idea culminates when Coach Taylor prays before the State Champions in this last episode.  He prays to be a part of something bigger than a high school football team, even bigger than State Champs.  Isn't that what we are all looking for in life?  But maybe not, maybe we're just looking for those simple fond memories, that probably no one else will remember.  Maybe we need these simple single memories, so on a 100 degree July day, a chick in the South can think back to being 13 and crowded with her friends in the stands, wearing her awesome aqua and purple Columbia jacket, secretly wanting to be her cheerleading sister, seeing her clouded breath vanish quickly in front of her, and feeling her hands slowly, slowly thaw while holding that perfectly warm cup of water and Swiss Miss.  This is just one of the memories of a Friday Night.   Let's hope they last forever.

1 comment:

  1. Hah! See how right I am? I loved this. "let's recap: in seasons 1 and 2, Jason Street broke your heart, Tim Riggins stole it, and Matt Saracen brought it back all warm and fuzzy." You're a wizard. Plus, a nod to home schoolers! Haha. Way to know your audience. Haha. Thanks for the post. This was great. Clear eyes, full hearts!