Friday Night Lights

2226 words 9 pages
Brant Norlander
Sociology of Sports
Prof. Delany
Friday Night Lights Sustaining the ambitions of not only themselves but the alumni and town of Odessa, Texas is a lot to ask from a young adult. That’s exactly what Permian football provides to the people of Odessa, where the post economic boom of the oil business has left the town in a racially tense, economic crisis. The lights on Permian High School’s football field are the only sanctuary for the west Texas town. Socially and racially divided, Odessa’s mass dependence on high school football constructs glorified expectations for the football team to temporarily disguise the disappointments that come with living in a town tagged as the “murder capital” of
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If girls wanted to gain acceptance in Permian they must conform to the schools social characteristics such as “dumbing down” because “It’s not appropriate [for a girl] to be intelligent”(138). Football players like Don Billingsley were targets for the girls of Permian. Some would offer to carry his books; other should fantasize being his girlfriend and even go as far as offering money to sleep with him. It was all about image at Permian High School, everyone wanted their piece of the pie. One of the most popular cheerleaders was Bridgette Vandeventer who describes her social ambitions, “I just want to be know… but not in a bad way”(140). The girls of Permian were faced with immense pressures to conform to the priorities of Permian or run the risk of being rejected to the only glorified interest of Odessa, Texas. Odessa, Texas was still a town plagued with racial discrimination, even after a desegregation movement. The only thing that could somewhat dilute racial prejudice in Odessa was football. On the field, the color of white and black was replaced by the pressures of wins and losses. An easier transition into integration was made way by the fact that Blacks seemed to be more athletically gifted than Whites. What ensued was a bidding war where “the board spent more time worrying about how the


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