"Friday Night Lights"

Everyone is always telling me to see this show. “You have to see Friday Night Lights. You’ve never seen Friday Night Lights?” They said it was a little jewel, and I believed them. Friday night, I watched for twenty minutes. Here is what I saw:

Boys squaring off in fights.

Men menacing boys.

Men protecting boys.

Men fighting men.

Sometimes boys don’t know how to express their thanks to the men who protect them. That is okay.

There are complex codes of honor involving boys and girls, as you can imagine, even though these girls are clearly played by starlets in their late twenties, while some of the boys really do appear to be teenagers. It doesn’t lessen the power of the message of not date raping.

Ironically, the boy who stops a date rape in progress is unjustly accused by the coach of attempting to take advantage of the same girl. This girl is the coach’s daughter, and the coach has just stood up for this boy in a conflict with another coach. It is the boy who thanked him awkwardly, almost wordlessly. One wishes he could find the words now to tell the coach that what he thinks he did to his daughter is in fact what he just stopped someone else from doing, but one understands why he can not. In some future episode, perhaps the coach will learn his accusation is false, and his apology to the boy will also contain so few words but so much power.

Driving in the car today, Isa said, “You know what’s a manly sport? Noodling for catfish.”


“Oh yeah.”

“Noodling is fishing?”

“It’s fishing by hand. These guys are in the water, and they reach into holes and the catfish bite them, and they pull them out by the gills, and there’s bites all over them. Sometimes the fish is a hundred pounds.”

“The fisherman uses his own hand as bait?”


“And you think that’s manly?”

“Oh yeah, it’s manly, it’s about as manly as it gets.”

That’s how I feel about Friday Night Lights.

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