By Mary Anna Violi | @Mary Anna Violi
One of the few television programs I watched was Friday Night Lights. Now I am able to relive the excitement of the show through Netflix. In as much as I relish Friday Night Lights, it tugs at my heartstrings. This has much to do with hearkening back to those Friday night football games of my small Catholic high school and the rush of adrenaline in cheering on a winning football team.
And win we did. As the Vietnam War raged on, filling the newspapers and nightly news programs with gory scenes of war in a far off country, high school football permitted our minds to drift elsewhere, at least on Friday nights. While race riots and urban terrorist networks burned our major cities, wreaking death and havoc nationwide, we screamed and yelled for our high school football team. It made the chaos beyond our turf’s realm disappear, at least on Friday nights.
Years later, we reside near the local public high school that my daughter attended. Daylight grows shorter, and dusk casts its shadows earlier than I like, yet the roar of the crowd in the high school stadium, the queues of cars up and down our residential streets, the jubilant shouts of spectators, the blasting echo of the sports announcers combine to remind me of the joy of watching a football team’s win on the field. My high school alma mater’s team went downstate for championship games throughout my four years at the school. To this day, photographs of those championship seasons line the walls of the school.
I played in the band for those football games of yore. We had to have been the smallest of the area’s high school bands, but we had a young, dynamic bandleader, and our hearts were strong because we got to play our school’s fight song repeatedly throughout those four years. Kyle Chandler, who plays Coach Eric Taylor in Friday Night Lights, has that same square-jawed look of determination that my high school’s Head Coach had. The Assistant Coaches on Friday Night Lights remind me of the handsome ones at my alma mater during those four championship seasons. The electric charge that runs through the Texas-based football show’s student body, boosters, team, and coaching staff, never fails to rekindle the passion of my adolescent self in the bleachers of those Friday Night Lights of yore.
Ciao for now.