Friday Night Lights - Just Read It !

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Friday Night Lights - Just Read It !

Meat head, dumb jock. These are just two of the many derogatory labels given to football players. Is it possible for me, a meat head, to hear the criticisms dealt to the sport of football? Is it possible for me, a dumb football jock, to understand and be objective about the issues raised in the book, Friday Night Lights? Yes, because I'm not the stereotypical football player like those described of Odessa, Texas.

The football players in Odessa were generally a wild party crowd. It was typical that late in the fourth quarter, when the game was in the bag, the players would begin talking on the sidelines about what parties they were going to after the game, what girls they were going to try to pick up, and laughing about how drunk they were going to get. They cared nothing for academics. The senior star running back, Boobie Miles, was taking a math course that most students took as freshmen. Many of the senior players' schedules consisted of nothing but electives. For the Oddesa footbal players, school was nothing more than a social get-to-gether, served up to them as a chance to flirt with girls and hand out with their friends. They knew that their performance in class didn't matter; the teacher would provide the needed grade to stay on the team. It wasn't uncommon for players to receive answer keys for a test or simply to be exempt from taking the test at all. Some didn't know how they would cope without football after the season was over. They ate, drank, and slept it. On the whole, these 16 and 17-year-old boys' identity was wrapped up in a pigskin.

The Odessa football players couldn't be objective about criticisms of football. Their total self-esteem depended on how they did on Friday night. This was the glorified culmination of their football career: wearing the black MoJo uniform in the stadium under the big lights. Football was more than just a game to them; it was a religion. It "made them seem like boys going off to fight a war for the benefit of someone else, unwitting sacrifices to a strange and powerful god" (Bissinger, p.11). Because football was so meaningful in their lives, to criticize it was to criticize everything they'd worked so hard for and lived for.
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