Football is Deeper Than You Think | Teen Ink

Football is Deeper Than You Think

January 13, 2021
By ryanbegnaud SILVER, Austin, Texas
ryanbegnaud SILVER, Austin, Texas
7 articles 0 photos 0 comments

You will not believe this awesome book about the hardships of football. The book is titled Friday Night Lights and it was written by H.G. Bissinger. It’s a nonfiction book about a football team in the famous football town of Odessa, Texas. Although you could argue that the author’s purpose is the most important part of a book, I believe that the setting can define an entire story. Significant ideas in literary work include many different aspects of literature. You can look at things such as the protagonist, antagonist, the mood, etc. But, for this book specifically, the setting and the author’s purpose of writing the book play the biggest roles.

The setting of the book Friday Night Lights is the small town of Odessa, Texas. The author tells the story of where the town originated from extremely well at the beginning of the book. By stating that, “it was hard to believe that Odessa would survive,” (28) the reader can automatically assume that the come up of the town of Odessa was not a pretty one or a smooth and easy one. This quote is important to the book because it lets the reader know how the author tells things. Bissinger either tells it directly, or tells the reader something where they’re able to comprehend what he’s actually saying or inferring. The setting not only plays a role in the story because of the location, but there’s also deeper meaning to the town. Odessa is known as a football town, and that is arguably the most important thing in Odessa, Texas. Odessa has an extremely rich history in the sport of football due to their high school football success.

I believe that the author, H.G. Bissinger had an important purpose in writing this story. I don’t think he was just trying to tell the story of a high school football team, but he shows the reader how extracurricular activities can affect a teenager not just back in the mid-80s, when the story takes place, but the effects things like that can have on us today. Not only does the author do a great job of diving into the lives of teenagers and how they’re juggling multiple things such as school and football, but Bissinger is also able to give the reader a deeper look into the lives of adults involved with high school football. The author does this by explaining what really happens in the background of a coach’s life, specifically, Coach Gaines, the head coach for the Permian Panthers. Things that pop up in coaches' lives consist of pressure from the fans of the Permian Panthers and the booster club. On top of all that, Coach Gaines is forced to deal with the insanely high expectations set for the team. In the book, Coach Gaines is represented very well when it is stated that, “Coach Gaines, who spent almost as much time dealing with parents as he did with the players…” (79). This quote goes back to my thesis because finding a quote that represented the importance of setting was much easier than an author’s purpose quote, and that indirectly lets the reader know how much the author values the setting in the story.

This book can teach the reader many things depending on how you view certain things being told. For Friday Night Lights, it is clear that the setting was much more than just where the story takes place. Odessa, Texas has a deeper meaning than you would think in this story, and you could say the same for the author’s purpose. From reading this book, I learned that the author’s purpose was to teach the reader about the facts of Texas high school football, the inside scoop on Texas football, and the challenges anyone involved with the sport can face. It is still arguable that the author's purpose is more important than the setting, but my thoughts still stand, as I still believe setting plays the biggest role. It took me a while to comprehend what I had just read after finishing the book, but I genuinely believe the author did an outstanding job of elaborating on everything that is invested into a high school football team. Not only that, but it allowed me to connect it to my life because it just allows me to think even deeper about certain things. For example, if someone appears to be happy on the outside, you never know how they really feel. This relates to the book Friday Night Lights because you can probably assume that the outside world didn’t know what was really happening inside the players’ or coaches’ minds, as well as their personal lives. An activity like football can take a toll on anyone, whether it’s visible or not.

The author's comments:

I'm a junior trying to win some scholarship money.

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