Mike Cope's blog

Saturday, November 06, 2004

I still haven't seen "Friday Night Lights" even though the central character, Gary Gaines, is a Highland member--and, as I've blogged before, a really good man. (Anyone seen it? Is it good?) But I have to say this: I really do love Friday nights under the lights at Shotwell stadium. The last two weeks, the place has been full (15,000-17,000). Last night AHS played Midland Lee for the district championship. Of course, I loved that Abilene High won, extending their record to 10-0 and giving them an outright district championship for the first time in a gazillion years. But even beyond that, it's just the experience of West Texas high school football. And especially West Texas football in November when it's cool and crisp--as football weather ought to be.


  • I saw and really liked it. I grew up just north of Odessa and I thought they nailed the ethos of a west Texas football town. I haven't read the book, but I've heard the film downplays some of the more disturbing aspects of the story, like racism. Billy Bob Thornton's character comes across as a good man caught in a nasty whirlwind of football mania.

    By Blogger Wade, at 11/06/2004 09:22:00 AM  

  • Go Eagles! Keep cheering them on for me!!

    I did see the movie and enjoyed it....having heard some of the controversy surrounding the book and reading some of Gaines' comments in articles sounds like the movie might be closer to real-life than the book....of course, I really don't know. But it is a good movie. Go see it.

    By Blogger Jenni, at 11/06/2004 09:39:00 AM  

  • I, likewise, have seen it. It reminded me of my h.s. football days, when the entire town shut down beginning around 3 PM on game day and lasting through the Saturday morning coach's radio show, broadcast live from Wade's Men's Store. I was glad to see that the racial issue was played down...or at least I thought so aftern reading reviews that said race was a main issue. I also thought Gaines was fairly represented, i.e. no cursing, boozing, etc. He and his coaching staff in the movie did "look the other way" on occasion when the superstar got off track a bit. The movie is well worth your time. Good entertainment.


    By Blogger MarkS, at 11/06/2004 10:15:00 AM  

  • Katy High School (Texas) is in mourning today. We ended our 24 game winning streak last night, losing to Alief Taylor by two points. "On any given day" came true last night. We won district and will make another run for the 5A Div II Texas state championship, beginning next week. We won state last year, beating this years #1 team in the nation, Southlake Carroll.

    Texas High School football is very exciting, especially if you live in an area that has a "program." It is exciting to win, but I think losing teaches young men and women more about life.

    Good luck to Abiliene High School! Maybe we will see you in the playoffs.

    By Blogger David Michael, at 11/06/2004 12:34:00 PM  

  • Mike-
    Having grown up in Abilene and a Texan by birth and RIGHT-I loved it! You are so right about friday nights. Seeing Shotwell Stadium on the big screen was so cool! It made me homesick. At one point I leaned over to my buddy who came with me and said, "this may seem over the top, but it's really not--this is reality in west Texas."

    One good thing--a friend's son who is a big football player here came home after the movie and told his mom that it was completely unrealistic. I take that to be a good thing. In his world there is much more to life than football. He's really a great player, but thankfully, the culture here allows him to be interested in other things as well.

    My favorite part was the fact that the WORST thing Billy Bob Thornton says in the entire movie is, "oh my goodness gracious!" Bet that won't happen again!

    By Blogger Brandon Scott, at 11/06/2004 06:07:00 PM  

  • Good movie. Nice camera work. Pay close attention to the music - it captures the mood of the late 80s / early 90s. Those songs brought back a lot of memories.

    By Blogger R Debenport, at 11/07/2004 12:05:00 AM  

  • i thought the movie AND the book were great. neither of them portray Gaines in a negative way. i don't recall any boozing or racism on Gaines' part in the book. the town is portrayed as fairly racist and obsessed, but i feel like it captured a fairly honest picture of Odessa circa 1988. i'd have like to seen that kind of hard honesty in the film, in fact. in helps set Gaines apart as someone who was in the world, but not of the world in stead of showing him as one of a bunch of really likeable folks.

    By Blogger chrismith, at 11/07/2004 05:07:00 AM  

  • Thanks for using the word "gazillion." :)

    By Blogger Jon, at 11/07/2004 10:22:00 AM  

  • Buried in blankets, about 10 college students and recent grads braved the chill and watched Friday Night Lights from the bed of a F-150 last night at the Abilene Drive-In. Seemed strangely appropriate! (Great flick, by the way)

    By Blogger Steve Jr., at 11/07/2004 07:33:00 PM  

  • From an athletic lens of viewing the world, I really don't think it gets any better than High School football! I have never been to a H.S. game in W. Texas, but I am sure it is a really special experience!
    The neat thing is that EVERY community or state thinks that THEY have the best High School football. Guess what, they do! :) It is a win-win for everybody that way! I know growing up in Alabama where, like Texas, football is bigger than religion we thought our H.S. football was the BEST anywhere. Then I got to college I realized that all my buddies and friends were proud of their schools and their communities and their athletic teams.....and thought theirs was the "BEST"!
    I am just thankful for men like Coach Gaines and Bill Barden and HUNDREDS of others that are Christian role models for our youth and are about the business of impacting lives for the Lord. God bless them all!

    By Blogger David U, at 11/08/2004 08:10:00 AM  

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