When boys become as gods and girls become as saints
The Southside Light
Every August the blazing Texas sun beats down on the usually parched landscapes across Texas. From Orange to Anthony, Dumas to Donna and every dot on the map in between, boys will a have chance to become gods and the girls their undercard saints. But what makes this thing called “Texas High School Football” so special and why does anybody even care? It’s a matter of pride in Texas, a matter of community and a matter of fact.
From six-man teams to schools that rival their NCAA brethren, the big bright lights beacon across the Lone Star State like Celestial glory where the path to righteousness is there for the taking but the reward is reserved for the most valiant elect.
Like ancient temples of worship, the lights call the faithful to the grail of green (or maybe even drought stricken brown) to the place where not every man is equal, but every heart is the same.
Here in Texas the smaller the town the bigger the stakes. As places like Freer and Refugio slowly dry up, it’s this game—this form of worship, if you will that brings them so much hope and causes the old to be young once again.
For a few short weeks a no name kid has the chance to become a legend and the adults can put their differences aside for a common thread. It’s this game of football that teaches about life, love, winning and losing—eternal lessons seemingly coming down from Heaven.
Old men who once tasted the glory sit with spitoons and walkers in the very front rows. Middle aged men with dreams of their youth cheer and complain, as if this new generation was part of them, too. Then the young men run out with the weight of success heavy on their hearts. “If they can only bring it back here,” says so many minds in the stands. It’s football time in this barren, lone land—it’s time to try for hometown glory once again.
Nowhere else on earth other than Texas do bluebonnets bloom so brightly in the spring or lights shine so brightly in an autumn night. It’s high school football time here in Texas, and it’s more than just personal pride.
***This is an excerpt from Matt Briscoe’s graduate work “When Boy’s Become God’s and Girls Become Saints.” This work was originally published at BU, 2006. No changes have been made other than to conform to editorial guidelines. Used with permission from BU PRESS.