There’s no way around the fact that we love our Friday Night Lights here in Texas, is there? Right or wrong, there’s just something that Texans love about the pigskin, and they usually love it at the top of their lungs. They spend their fall anticipating it, reading about it, hashing it over in the coffee shops around the state, and yes, they’ve even been known to lay down a wager or two on their favorite teams.
While our young men used to take to their respective fields for the first time as seventh graders, today many, if not most, now begin their football careers their first grade year, their parents all the while anticipating the time when their “superstars” will take center stage in varsity stadiums across the state, stadiums that quite often (if the school can finance it) rival those of their college counterparts.
Are we crazy? Probably. Are we letting our kiddos play the game while they are still too young to do so? Possibly. Is it even important that our young people be involved in the game in some way?
I was recently in a conversation where it was announced that a young man had decided not to play high school football, and when I heard the collective gasp of those in the discussion, it crossed my mind to wonder for at least the 50,000th time why the game is so all-fired important to us anyway.
I’ve been thinking about it ever since, and I think I finally have an answer.
First of all, my thoughts apply to small-school Texas only, and it is important to remember that small schools and the activities they offer are much different from larger schools where students have many choices as well as many niches into which they can fit. However, even at that, you also have to keep in mind that football is King here in Texas… whether it should be or not.
So…should our young men be involved in the game and if so, why does it matter?
Right or wrong I did come up with some ideas, and I’ve decided that young men do not have to PLAY football, but they do need to be INVOLVED in football. It’s not actually the game itself (although that can be a lot of fun) that is so important, but it is the feeling of belonging that all young people need that matters most.
Every single school year kicks off (pun intended) with a Sis Boom Bah, and “everyone” is involved in supporting the team. Those who are not involved (remember, in small schools) tend to be left out, their friends too busy with football activities to have much time for them.
Think about it. Members of the football team, band, cheerleaders, pep squad, mascot, etc. are all super busy from the time two-a-days begin in the summer.
As a teacher, I saw first hand what happens to the kids who are left on their own and left out of these activities with too much time on their hands, expecially at the first of the year when everything is magnified.
After school hours are taken with the various practices for those who are involved, and those who are not are left on their own to make their own fun. Seldom is the outcome good.
So…should we insist that our sons play football?
Of course not, but we should insist that they participate in something that will make them feel as if they are a part of the festivities along with the rest of the kids. It keeps them busy, and it keeps them feeling involved and important, something all young people need.
So….are Texas Football and Friday Night Lights really all that important? You bet they are…whether they should be or not!
I hope to see you at the game this week. Our kiddos need to know that we as adults support all of them, don’t they? Of course, that’s a whole “nuther” article…