Friday Night Light
Friday Night Light
The Watermelon Feed takes place in the high school cafeteria. On this night, the boys of the Permian football team will come before the crowd to be checked out and introduced. Then, two weeks later will come the glorious start of the season. People come to the Watermelon Feed with their children as if they feel it’s important for the little ones to see this spectacle at a young age and be awed by it. They come dressed in black, the major Permian color, and they come with the 1988 Permian football yearbook to be autographed by their heroes. The “grand dukes of Permian,” men in their 50’s and 60’s who are hooked on Permian football and treat each game with reverence, are also there. They are the people who were dubbed “football crazy” on ABC’s Nightline by Ross Perot. They responded with letters telling him to mind his own business and not disturb a way of life that had thrived for years and brought the town a joy it never could have experienced anywhere else.
Playing for Permian, however, involves great sacrifice for the players: some play with broken limbs, one lost a testicle; vomiting was routine; others took shots of novocaine to mask the pain of their injuries. In contrast to the pain, there are the perks: the black jersey worn only by “privileged children,” the Pepette who takes care of her player with candy and other treats, signs in his yard, and his number on the white shirt she wore. They are the special ones of the school all through the season.
The Watermelon Feed begins with a prayer and film of past great games. The boys are then introduced and Boobie Miles is introduced as the player who will take the great Shawn Crow’s place on the team. Shawn has been the object of the film they have just watched. L.V. is as proud as he can possibly be unaware that everything will change at a pre-season scrimmage with the Palo Duro Dons.