Saturday, September 24, 2011

Writer Rewind--Remembering Friday Night Lights


I had the pleasure of hearing Libba Bray speak at a local conference. One of the many wise things she said still stands out in my mind--when writng for teens, it's important to remember. Remember how we felt as we navigated those tricky social waters. The fears, the angst, and the drama. And remember the good times, too.

Some of my favorite memories of high school are the Friday night football games. Now that my son plays on the high school JV team, I get to take a walk down memory lane each Friday night.

Kenny Chesney's song "Boys of Fall" opens with these words: "When I feel that chill and smell that fresh cut grass, I'm back in my helmet, cleats, and shoulder pads." For me, that sums up autumns during my high school years. Not because I played football, but because um, I was a cheerleader (no hating, please).

Here are some of my vivid Friday night memories:
  • Doing an offense cheer when we didn't have the ball. #fail. Sorry to say, I still don't understand the game completely. You could explain it until you're blue in the face and my eyes would still glaze over. But the atmosphere is fun!
  • My boyfriend (now husband) argued with players from the opposing team and got kicked out of the game. Hey, those players ran through our players' banner at half time, and that is a hangable offense in high school.
  • Fellow students talking trash about our team, no matter how well our guys played.
  • The marching band and drill team performing at half time.
  • Students hanging out beneath the bleachers doing who-knows-what (well, I know, but I don't really want to know).
  • Piling into the local pizza place after a home game.
  • The rides home from an away game were rowdy when our team won, and somber when they lost.
One of my characters is on the football team, and I hope I successfully infused some of my fond memories of Friday night lights. But no matter what, it sure is fun to remember those days, and to watch my son experience it for himself.

What's one of your best high school memories? And if you're still in high school, do you enjoy going to the football games?

21 comments:

  1. I try to remember all the fond memories. I enjoyed the games, the parties, the socializing. I also watch my daughter and see what goes on in her life, now that see is in high school. It's interesting.

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  2. That sounds like a typical football game in high school. I was in the band, so I remember playing on the field as well.

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  3. Ha ha ha--you did a "Go Offense!" cheer when the other team had the ball? Love it. Have you seen the TV show Friday Night Lights? One of the best shows I've seen in a long time and I miss it already.

    I haven't been around here in a while--any news on your manuscript? Good luck!

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  4. " I was a cheerleader" That explains a LOT. LOL In a good way!!!! You always cheer on others.:D Great memories! I love how you come up with all these great posts.

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  5. I wasn't really into the sports scene in high school - my favorite memories revolve around just being with a few of my best friends (and boyfriends - didn't meet hubby until college).
    erica

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  6. Oh how I loved those Friday nights. I loved football and hollering for my friends. In fact a bunch of us are going to our homecoming game 30+ years later. Reliving those memories are one big reason I write YA.

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  7. I was a cheerleader too, so no hating from over here! :-) As such, my memories are similar to yours.

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  8. I love football! Going to the games used to be one of my favorite things to do as a kid in school. My cousin was the star quarterback and I really looked up to him, so I'm sure that's a big part of why. ;)

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  9. Great advice, to remember those high school memories, good and bad. I loved football games, but I was a chorus geek, and my favorite memories revolve around those activities. My worst memory would have to be the first day of high school. Because of where the boundary was between districts, I had to go to a different high school than most of the kids I went to junior high with, so I knew no one. Walking into the cafeteria that first day...*shudder*. It was awful. I will remember that day when I need to write an awkward and lonely moment.

    Becca @ The Bookshelf Muse

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  10. See, these are the things we English miss out on :-(

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  11. I have a lot of fun memories from high school football games too. We were a teeny tiny school and one year we scored 1 touchdown in the final game. It was the only TD all year. You'd have thought we'd won the Super Bowl!

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  12. I traveled to our game last night. It's nice having a hubster who coaches high school football because it keeps me "in touch." LOL! I don't have any of my own memories of football games since I grew up in Hong Kong, but you're absolutely right, it's good to remember all those high school emotions. I sometimes read through my old journals to remind myself of the daily turmoil! :)

    Amy

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  13. My best high school memory didn't happen on campus. I was working a full time job. Spending my paychecks at the airport. I think I missed the true essence of high school by having to grow up too fast. So... I made sure my kids could embrace theirs. Thanks for sharing your memories!

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  14. Those are good memories! I guess high school wasn't that long ago for me, but it sure seems like it. My best high school memories are the shenanigans my cross country and track teams got up to, heehee! :) But my favorite memory would be when my best guy friend (now my husband) and I started dating!

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  15. I didn't care for high school and I've only seen one football game in my whole life. Oh well. :)

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  16. Julie,
    I'm thinking of my high school days now as a fail. I worked after school and cannot remember doing too much. I'm really not sure why. On the other hand, my oldest is a senior this year and he is incredibly active. He is liked by all, is in choir, wind ensemble, doing plays and made all-state choir last year (the only one of 16 kids from the valley). We go to the football games now and sit behind the band, marveling at our young man

    -Jimmy

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  17. I used to love going to soccer practice in high school!

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  18. I've never had to opportunity to be around football. But shows like Friday Night Lights and this post make me wish I had :) It sounds like a wonderful time.

    Btw, I have an award for you over on my blog if you'd like to come get it.

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  19. I didn't go to a typical high school and so my experience was quite different from most. I do remember how much I loved school though. I felt incredibly inspired to do well, a first for me.

    I sometimes attribute that to a serious whack upside the head my freshman year(I've always said that's what made me smart), but I think it was the nature of the school itself. I really came into myself during those years, and the teachers there, mostly nuns, helped me explore who I would someday become.

    I'm quickly approaching the mid-century mark, but I can recall those days with perfect clarity, like it was yesterday.

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  20. You have a lot of good memories, Julie. Libba's advice to remember holds good for all of us.

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