Discover Austin: Friday Night Lights - Episode 23

The focus of this Discover Austin episode isn't exclusive to Austin or even central Texas. This episode covers Friday Night Lights, which all Texans know about!  If you'd prefer to read how important Friday nights are in the fall, the video transcript is available below.  You can watch additional Discover Austin episodes on our YouTube page.  Click that subscribe button so you know when we post new videos.

"Greetings, I’m Craig Smyser.  It’s Friday evening.  In Texas.  During football season.  Which can only mean that this episode of Discover Austin is all about Friday Night Lights."

"Every self-respecting Texan knows that Friday nights in the fall are for high school football.  It doesn’t matter if you’re in a large city or a small town, high school football is a big deal."  And it’s not just parents of the kids on the team or in the marching band.  Heck, it’s not even just people who have kids at the high school.  It’s everyone young and old who are rooting for the team to win.

Friday Night Lights is a place to see and be seen.  You’ll see your neighbors, you’ll see your friends, and, of course, you’ll see your friendly real estate agent.  In a time when everyone is so busy and always running this way and that, high school football games in Texas still pull together thousands of people from the community who are all standing as one, at least for three hours.

You already know that high school football is big in Texas.  But it’s not the only big thing.  Marching Band is a huge thing in Texas.  Cheerleading is definitely a big deal in Texas.  Dance Teams?  Of course – and they kick higher here than anywhere else.  We also take our high school choirs pretty seriously, too.  And on Friday nights, they all come together in one big community extravaganza.

It takes a small army of employees and volunteers to pull off the evening.  Beyond all the coaches, directors, and stadium employees, you’ve got booster clubs manning concession stands, selling spirit gear, and ensuring that their group of kids is ready to go on when their moment arrives.  From inflating the entry tunnel to directing traffic, the list of jobs is long.

According to TexasBob.com, there are currently 10 Texas high school football stadiums that seat more than 16,500 fans with the largest one, Toyota Stadium in Frisco, seating 20,500.  Texas has over 1,200 high school football stadiums with a total seating capacity of over 4.2 million people.  And yes, a lot of high school stadiums in Texas have big video scoreboards.  Why?  Well, because were Texas.

The term ‘Friday Night Lights’ became a popularized reference after the 1990 book of the same name.  It chronicled the story of the 1988 Permian Panthers as they made a run to the Texas high school football state championship.  It was made into a movie in 2004 then was the basis for a TV series that ran for five years starting in 2006.  Incidentally, the TV show was filmed in various spots around the Austin area with the game scenes filmed at several high school stadiums.

"Friday Night Lights is one thing you just need to experience firsthand, so find your high school’s football schedule and spend a Friday Night the Texas way.  I’m Craig Smyser, thanks for joining me for this episode of Discover Austin."

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