There’s just something about a fall high school football night in Texas, or the south in general. It’s hard to explain to others who are oblivious of the appeal of that spheroid- shaped leather bundle with Frankenstein laces….and that appeal is mainly concentrated in the South, especially in the small towns where football is about all there is to do, taking on a somewhat medieval significance of suiting up the young knights in armor and sending them out to battle.
It also helps all those old athletes embrace the concept of being young again, no more is anyone a short, stocky coach stuck on the sidelines, nope, they are young and dexterous once again, getting that second chance upon the Road of Greatness. Glory days. It’s also time for those of us who are emotionally invested – that bittersweet reminder that its the last season for our young knight who will hopefully persevere without injury and without losses, because we all know that the Big Life waiting outside of the field is far more formidable than the opponents facing opposite each other on a still, autumn night. Every now and then, in a game, sportsmanship surprises us – when one has the opportunity to see young players who won’t give up in spite of a large difference to a much bigger team, but who continue to play because they actually do believe, they do care – and it’s never over until the final second has dawned. The final culmination, possibly unique to the south again: the prayer circle – where opponents unite for a greater good, invoking a medieval treaty, acknowledging the Overlord, burying the malice – resolving to go out and face new opponents on the field of Challenge.
Still other times, something completely unexpected happens such as when, for those who pay attention, it becomes more about a Tiger who steps up to the plate, when his team is down and steals the show from everyone. The crafty, flamboyant tiger who didn’t have to wrestle with a pesky nose guard, a massive center, or a swift right tackle, and who truly came out as an undisputed star under those famous Friday night lights in Texas.
“Glory days, yeah…pass you by, glory days, in the wink of a young girl’s eye, glory days….”