After the Lights Went Out

Over the course of the summer months my husband and I watched “Friday Night Lights” in its entirety. The television show had been highly recommended by library staff and patrons. We were hoping to get away from the intensity of other shows we had been borrowing. Plus, not being football fans we figured it wouldn’t distract us from hiking and kayaking too much while the weather was nice. Boy were we wrong! From the first episode we were sucked right in.

Friday Night Lights follows the football team of the Dillon Panthers in fictionalized Dillon, Texas where the sun rises and sets with high school football. But the show is not just about football (as everyone kept telling me)! It follows the relationship between Coach Eric Taylor and his wife, Tami, and their teenage daughter.  It’s a modern-day depiction of marriage in which both partners follow their careers while raising a family together. The show also chronicles the high school teammates and all the trials and tribulations that the boys go through while playing on the football team. The acting is world class; in fact the show was nominated and won multiple awards for its writing and acting. The storylines are not light and fluffy, but real and gripping.

If Don and I had no plans after work, we’d treat ourselves to a show to check in with the Taylors and the team. It was like a good dessert. After dinner we’d settle in to our new couch and watch one episode. We didn’t want to be too gluttonous. If we watched two it was harder to stop. After indulging all summer long, we’ve finished the series. It’s always sad when we finish something so good! We’ve taken some time to mourn and think about what the characters are up to now. Let’s see if you agree:

After years of coaching I imagine Eric Taylor writing his memoirs to share with the football community. Like Lou Holtz’s life that was featured in his biography “Wins, Losses and Lessons,” Coach Taylor was known for his ability to inspire players and help them become men. Taylor could share his ups and downs with future prospects and give insight to the game to all football fans.

Full back Tim Riggins hasn’t slowed down in my imagination. He’s always been most happy when he works with his hands. I imagine him browsing the stacks in the home improvement section. Maybe “Green Remodeling” and “Green Restorations” are on his bedside table while he’s building his dream house in “Texas Forever.”

Tami Taylor has spent her years on Friday Night Lights helping teens find their paths in life. Between counseling and tutoring, she has formed responsible, intelligent adults into the world. I think she’d be passing out copies of “How to Survive Without Your Parent’s Money” and “Dig This Gig: Find Your Dream Job or Invent It” to the youth of today. If I only had a guidance counselor like her when I was in high school, I could have become a librarian years earlier!

Superstar Smash Williams has hopefully realized his dream of becoming a quarterback for the NFL. Perhaps he made his major league debut last week during opening week. Maybe he’ll be featured in a sequel to Anthony Gargano’s expose “NFL Unplugged” where players are interviewed about the nitty-gritty details of the game that never quite make it in the press. He can be an authority on the hazing-turned-camaraderie, the conditioning and injuries of the game, and the money that never lasts long enough for any player.

Newbie Luke Cafferty is probably spending his pleasure reading in the Lee Child fiction section of the library. Jack Reacher’s ex-military character in the Lee Child series probably appeals to him. Cafferty is always the first person to help out in time of a crisis, just like Reacher. Though I don’t picture Cafferty being single in the future, I picture him with a wife and a bunch of children while he saves a little part of the world.

The show wouldn’t be true to life if it didn’t feature teen love triangles. With so many good looking athletes and cheerleaders, it was inevitable! The two threesomes featured on the show rivaled the Dylan-Kelly-Brandon one I remember watching on Beverly Hills, 90210 when I was a teenager. If Lyla Garrity or Tyra Collette were reading fiction nowadays, I bet they would pick up “Tumbleweeds.” The story takes place when the three main characters are forty. The majority of the novel flashes back to their teen years in which the two boys played high school football together in a Texas town similar to Dillon. I wonder if Jason-Lyla-Tim are going to end up like them.

Lisa Shaia is the children’s librarian who is looking forward to starting Leverage with her husband soon.

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