There is something to this Friday Night Lights thing. There is just something about the community gathering that is Texas high school varsity football.
I've never been much of a football fan. As a high school senior, I recall standing under the rather smallish bleachers at my small town high school, lighting up a Merit Menthol. In fact, we even had a smoking lounge in my high school. Students and teachers met out there between classes to light up. It didn't matter that the legal age to buy cigarettes was 18. None of that was important back in the day.
My group met under the bleachers at each game and made fun of the cheerleaders. Hells, our football team consisted of a bunch of popular pretty boy types intent on not harming their boyish good looks The girls were only interested in joining that elite 'in' crowd made up of cheerleaders. These girls stuck their noses so high in the air, I'm surprised they didn't trip more. The roles held such a level of importance to the student body. Football players and cheerleaders expected to be revered as you passed them in the hallway. However the roles did not hold such an importance for the community, as the bleachers were filled pretty much with students. There was very little parent involvement as there is here in Texas.
What I like about Texas high school football is that there is so much opportunity out there on that field for so many students. At any given game, hundreds are out there or in the stands performing some sort of job. I see so many community members in the stands as well: teachers, mayor, superintendent, councilmembers, business owners all join with parents and students to cheer for their team. It is clear that we support our students in their endeavors.
I also enjoy people watching. I get to creep on my son who is a Pirate Guard. I get to giggle as he escorts a bevvy of pink lipsticked Pacesetters and their high kicking white bedazzled cowgirl boots to and from their seats. For a dude, it's a dream gig if you can get it. I marvel at the superintendent who occasionally takes the opportunity to grab the leading flag in AHMO and run with the ROTC out on the field after a score. I love seeing all the friends I've made through the years in Wylie flit about the place. Some sit near us, some sit with their band students, some sit with the Pacesetters.
Nobody can get it straight what our AHMO chant stands for either. They say it means I'm going to kick your ass with a southern bent ahmo kick your ass. Others say it means Annihilate, Humiliate, Mutilate, Obliterate. The literal meaning doesn't really matter to us, we all know what it really means to us. To win the Wylie way.
I love how everyone stands and holds up one finger and keeps beat with the school song in unison. I love how we all clap to the band in unison. We have the routines down pat. We love our school mascot Pirate and feel bad for whomever is wearing that huge head in the dead of summer because it must be absolutely miserable hot in there.
Last week I laughed as a group of little girls stood in front of the Pacesetters and tried to follow their dances to That Wylie Band from the stands. A few Pacesetters came out to greet them and congratulate them on their splits. I am amazed at the sheer talent as well. Our Pacesetters and That Wylie Band are multi award winners. They aren't that marching band from my high school days where they were sometimes screechy or out of sync. This band practices nonstop and they are never out of sync or out of line in their formations. Their footwork is amazing and I wonder how they do it while trying to play their instruments at the same time.
Later in the season there is Homecoming where the girls walk the grandstand with ginormous mums and dozens of flowing ribbons hanging from them. It is truly a sight to behold. There is Senior Parent night where they honor the parents of all those hardworking kids on the field who have put in thousands of dollars and untold hours of dedication toward their child's craft.
There is nothing like a football game either. Whether it be 105 degrees out cooling to a balmy 92 by end of game, or a high of 59 cooling to a chilly 46 by end of game, those stands are filled. The people in the stands are also very active participants. We shout, chant, whistle, ring our cowbells, stomp our feet, and feel instantaneous joy and pride fill our chests with each touchdown. For a few short hours we get to forget our troubles and join together in one common goal. To watch our kids achieve greatness!