Friday Night Lights

Its Friday.  In Texas.  That can mean only one thing. High School Football under the lights!

Texans love their football and have produced a litany of greats. Why, in the past 8 years one half of the Heisman winners were raised in the state of Texas.  RG3 in 2011, Johnny Manziel ’12, Baker Mayfield ’17, and Kyler Murray in 2018 all played underneath the Friday night lights in Texas.

But here, Friday football is more than just a game, it is a family affair.  No, it is a community event.  Maybe a religion. Everyone participates, especially if you live outside the city.  And it isn’t just those on the field.

Of course, there are the players, and the coaches…

the bands,

the color guard,

cheerleaders,

and Family members

But that is just the beginning.  Student photographers line the field learning to perfect the difficult art of sports photography.  There are programs to be sold, decorations to be placed and  concession stands to be manned.

Along the sidelines students are learning to be trainers, writing news reports, and managing equipment.  There is something for everyone, and sometimes it seems as if the entire school is there.

With all the interest in high school football, is it any wonder that the local politicians have allocated many millions to building shrines to their beloved sport.  These monoliths come complete with locker rooms and training facilities that would make a few pro teams jealous.

At least 7 highs schools in Texas have stadiums with a capacity of 18,000.

  • Ratliff Stadium, Odessa has  18,000 capacity.  They neighbor Midland Memorial, recently renamed Dobson held 20,000 until they had to remodel to comply with American Disability Act requirements, their capacity is now 17500.
  • Eagle Stadium in Allen Texas cost $60 million to build and has a capacity of 18,000.
  • Buccaneer Stadium in Corpus Christi, Tx holds 18,000.  It was built in 1932.
  • Alamo Stadium in San Antonio,  and Farrington Field in Ft. Worth both hold 18,500.
  • Memorial Stadium in Mesquite has a whopping 20,000 capacity
  • Toyota Stadium in Frisco tops the list at 20,500.

If you happen to be cruising through Texas on a Friday night and the town seems to be deserted, just scan the horizon for the tall light beams and listen for familiar chants. There you will find the heart of the town.

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