Friday going home music: John and Mary, “Angels of Stone”
When I won, as a high school junior, a state-wide essay writing competition, I was invited with sundry other academic winners to a celebration at the capitol. Rick Perry was to preside. All of us — champions in debate, calculus, physics, music, literary criticism, and more — gathered on the floor of the Texas state senate to accept Governor Perry’s congratulations.
Perry took the podium as he does, with all folksy gravitas, gripping its edges in each hand. But when he addressed us he didn’t talk about academic achievement. He talked about football.
“Everything you’ve accomplished here, y’know, it’ll carry you through life…it reminds me of when I was in high school, and I competed in six-man football.”
Perry said football made him the man he was, that it taught him what he needed to know to become the governor of Texas. It was our express privilege to be compared to football players. We all knew we didn’t really deserve it, that this was a gift to us. We’d all scatter at the end of the event and go back to our schools, where we would be vaguely ashamed of having won in our dorky events, which seemed not only stuffily lame but selfish in their inhospitality to spectators. It just isn’t entertaining to sit and watch someone write an award winning essay.
But football is different. If you watch, if you cheer, if you wait all day for Friday night, you too can be a part of it. Football can elevate you, it can transform you, here are scholarships to change your class and spiritual cultivation to change your nature; here’s community, here’s adulation, here’s affirmation, as long as you’ve got something to offer the team. And if you wind up used up and worn out at the end of it, you’re still lucky you had that one moment. Not everyone gets one, after all.
"I never got over those blue eyes…"
In which formerly meaningful exchanges of eye contact become awkward glances. Oh, and Chewie is… well, hear it for yourself.
"Secretariat" by The Reivers