Friday Night Lights By Lewis Lapham

1866 Words8 Pages
“At times Odessa had the feel of lingering sadness that many isolated places have, a sense of the world orbiting around it at dizzying speed while it stood stuck in time...300 miles from the rest of the world” (33). Odessans don’t mind the isolation because they have high school football to wrap their lives around. In 1988, H.G. Bissinger moved to Odessa,Texas and had the up close and personal opportunity to study a small southern town and see how high school football affected the lives of its residents. In the same fashion, writer Lewis Lapham studied how sports affect people from all over the nation and came to the conclusion that sports must “preserve an illusion of perfect innocence.” Lapham’s views can clearly be linked to the…show more content…
After all, the Permian school district gerrymandered the boundary lines in order to get as many black kids to play on their football team as possible. However, they only convinced themselves of their tolerance. When almost all minorities lived behind the barrier, over the tracks, excluded from white interaction outside of school, it is hard to believe that the love for sports triumphed over racism. On the field, blacks were welcomed for their athletic skill. Off the field, it was back over the tracks where they belonged. Blacks knew what the tracks represented: “Symbolically and physically, the tracks were still a barrier and still defined an attitude” (92). The school and team integration covered the racism that was still clearly present in Odessa. The former principal of the “black school” said that “[t]here 's no integration, there is desegregation. There is no integration in this community, the same as any community in America” (98). The townspeople of Odessa know in their hearts that true integration doesn’t exist, but it didn’t matter because the government saw that Permian high school finally became integrated and allowed blacks and Mexicans to play on their sacred sports team. In this case, football wasn’t just a game. The integration of the team was a blanket to cover all of the racism and separation. At the end of the day, sports didn’t save the minorities; they had to go back to the rough side of town.

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