Friday night lights. It’s a small town tradition, meeting at the high school football field for a little early evening entertainment with your neighbors. It happens in larger cities, too, but
I’ve noticed that in smaller towns, it’s more of a community event, not just a school-supporter event. For me, it’s easy to catch a home game because the football field is on the other side of the block. It is the last point of the city before the wheat fields and shelterbelts begin their stretch across the horizon.
The young men in identical garb, identified only by their numbers draw the community to the sidelines. The players are there to compete, to prove their young manhood, to execute their learned maneuvers and plays.
However, it’s not just the players who are there with purpose. Their support staff includes a host of schoolmate performing their duties.
Cheerleaders of course are among the most visible and photographic, too! They’re just as focused on their “plays” or their routines as the players on the field. Like the players, they’re there with purpose.
They are making their own memories and their own personalities are forming even as they watch the game, plan their routines and perform for the crowd.
Equally vital to the Friday night activities are two other groups. The statisticians are there to keep the information the coaches and players need to formulate and execute their plays.
And then there is the concession stand. It’s where everyone seems to end up sooner or later and frankly it’s where most of the community chatter (gossip?) can be exchanged. The wait-staff of high school students and advisors provide the hot food, hot coffee and cold soda pop over which neighbors chat while the game goes on.
Yeah, it’s Friday night lights.
Though it’s harvest season when tractors, combines and other equipment are in full operation this time of year, they all seem to pause on Friday night while an entire collection of subcultures interact and support the community event.