Even if you’ve never been to a Texas high school football game, you probably know that these games and the fans who follow them are somewhat different than other high school football games and fans. In Texas, football isn’t a sport and it isn’t an extra-curricular activity. No, it’s almost been elevated to the level of a religion. To say that Texas high school football fans are passionate about the spot would be an understatement; a huge understatement.
Friday Night Lights may have been first a popular book and then a film but it all started with the true story of one season with the Odessa Permian Panthers. Hollywood didn’t need to pump up the real life story of this Texas high school team with fabrication; the real story was already enough of a legend to carry it all the way to the silver screen.
If you think you know high school football, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen it from the Lone Star State. Even the smaller schools really get involved. It’s not uncommon to see entire caravans traveling the Texas highways on Friday nights; the football team, drill team, cheerleaders, marching band and sponsor. All of that can easily require a dozen buses or so. And that’s not even including the hordes of parents and fans that travel right along with them. In relatively few other events will you see devoted fans travel hundreds of miles for a playoff game; and keep in mind that in Texas that’s entirely possible. The border from east to west stretches almost one thousand miles.
So, what is it exactly about Texas high school football in particular that seems to appeal to such a mass audience? While there may be no definitive answer for that question, there is definitely one certainty: nothing else on earth has quite the same intensity and passion to it. You can feel it reverberating in the air when you step into any high school football stadium throughout the state.
High school football fans in Texas are not just passionate about football; they live it and breathe it. On any given Friday night during football season in Texas you’re likely to see just about as much violence in the stands as you are on the turf if one fan happens to aggravate another.
And that’s not even mentioning the rivalry that can take place between teams in Texas. While it’s not uncommon at all for neighboring towns throughout the country to form high school football rivalries, Texans take it to a whole new level. In many cases, extra policeman have to be called out during big rival games just to keep the peace among the crowd. In a few instances, some towns had to stop even playing one another at all because of the violence that ensued between fans in the stands and on the sidelines during rival games.
The exact allure of Texas high school football may be somewhat difficult to describe, but one thing is certain: you feel it when you experience it.
If the rest of the world loves soccer, Texans love football.