Sunday, February 3, 2013

Bash, Ram and Destroy

Oh, you thought we were cheering for That Other Football Game?

Sorry. I'm digging further down in the pile of fame by reading H. G. Bissinger's Friday Night Lights.
Bissinger spent a year in Odessa, Texas, following the fortunes of the Permian Panthers, a team that grips the passion of its hometown so thoroughly that one fan, who had to miss a game because of his heart bypass surgery, refused his post-operation painkillers. After frequent phoned-in updates from his son-in-law, he finally consented to the drugs once he knew the game was secure.

A few of you may be far ahead of me in your Friday Night Lights fandom. Maybe you've watched the TV show. I hope to catch up with you (thank you Netflix).

But anyway, the hero boys of Permian High School all hope to be the boys in That Other Football Game. But first they need to round up scholarship offers from some big state college. And before that, there is the Friday night pressure to perform, which makes some of them vomit, or tape up that broken ankle and play anyway. There is the psyching up, the readiness to bash, ram and destroy the opponents, especially if they happen to come from Midland's Lee High School. Oh, yeah, and there's something about keeping grades up too. The author catches the team's biggest star in one of his classes, hard at it over a worksheet on the 95 uses for a microwave.

The Permian Panthers attracted 20,000 fans to their weekly games. Odessians lived for Friday nights, sadly because there was nothing else to live for. Odessa sits far out on a sandy plain. There is absolutely nothing to look at. There is oil to drill but, at the time Bissinger wrote his book (1988), Odessa's high times were over. Yards full of oil rigs sat idle. Bankruptcy and foreclosure ran high. If I were stuck in all that bleakness, I too would show up at the stadium every Friday night and stuff myself with nachos.

An especially poignant chapter checked in with Permian's yesteryear stars. "So, what was it like to be a prince all senior year and then adjust to real life?" Hint: It's a sad thing to peak early in life.
A few cow patties. Football boys ready to bash, ram and destroy don't talk like ministers.

And as for your recipe, how about what I call the Sunday Nap Meal? Throw it together, then crawl under the electric blanket and snooze. Wake up, slide the enchiladas in the oven, and catch up on Facebook while they bake.

Cheddar Beef Enchiladas

Creamy Corn

1 comment:

  1. Oh man...slogging through those quotes brings back my reluctant trudge through Great Expectations and Moby Dick. Painful. No thank you. Soup reads delicious, however.