A guest blog by Jody Payne

Sh-h-h, please don’t let on about this.

I was never a big fan of football before moving to Texas. And I admit I still don’t completely understand the game itself.

Okay, that was a lie. I have no idea what is going on out there.

A friend of mine, David Patton, way up in New Jersey, that’s someplace north of the Mason/Dixon Line, told me to watch Friday Night Lights.

We went to high school together and sat through many football games on Friday nights. He watched the games, and I hid my eyes and held my breath every time I heard that horrible crack sound of bodies crashing into each other.

But I’m older, and hopefully, made of sterner stuff now. I can take it without sobbing out loud as long as I see the player get up and walk again.

CLEAR EYESThe thing is this: Friday Night Lights is dead on. Who wrote the script anyway?

Everywhere I go in Willow Flats, people are talking about the chances that the high school team might win the game next Friday night.

Coaches get free haircuts if they will just make a few quotable comments.

Women with blue hair are delayed trying to get their grocery shopping done at the grocery store because they’re interrogated about their grandson’s chances of being able to start on Friday night.

At the feed store, farmers discuss the value of certain plays.

Plays? There are formal plays? It always looked to me like the whole idea was just to get the ball through that H shaped thingy at the end of the field. Apparently there’s more to it than that. It’s not that easy. Who knew?

I spend every Friday night sitting on a cold, hard bleacher. I watch my breath in the wind of a blue northern that has made it all the way from Canada with the sole intention of to drying up my lips and making sure I will have a sore throat when I wake up Saturday morning.

Maybe that’s the takeaway life lesson. Life isn’t always easy, but it can be a lot of fun.

What I like about the game down here is what it does for communities. Does football teach our boys that if you want something bad enough you have to endure a few bruises? That some things are worth the effort?

I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I read somewhere that Texas contributes more than its share of soldiers to our military. I wouldn’t doubt it. These people are descendants of hardy pioneers, and they strive to teach their children to do their best.

Here in Texas, living on the welfare of the government for generations is something to be gotten over with as fast as possible. Of course, sometimes it’s necessary to get a boast up, but then a Texan is expected to become self-sustaining as fast as he can and give the next person a hand up. It’s passing on the good stuff kind of society in the Lone Star state.

I’m proud of the people in my new hometown, and as much as I love to travel, I know I will always come home to Willow Flats, TX.

I can’t miss the big game on Friday night.


 Jody Payne is a writer (fiction and non-fiction), a horse woman (dressage, no less), an animal lover (just ask her two rescue dogs Annie and Janie or my two four-legged boys, Toby and Buster), and most of all she’s southern through and through.jody

Visit her on FB: https://www.facebook.com/jodypaynesays

Her website: www.jodypayne.net