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High School Football · 31 August 2007

As August comes to a close and the school year approaches, I find myself thinking about high school football. I find myself thinking about the coaches and players and what they think and feel as the season approaches. And I think about a poem I wrote several years ago. The poem is my hope and prayer for football players up and down the Snoqualmie and Skykomish valleys. It is my wish for players around the state and country to have a season filled with camaraderie and great memories. May you truly enjoy your time Under Friday Night Lights.

Under Friday Night Lights

Under Friday night lights, from east coast to west
Players put on football gear to determine who is the best
They put on all their pads, their helmets, their cleats
While rap, punk, or rock in the locker room beats
Some players seek quiet to get up for the game
Others pound on each other while doing the same
They get into the “zone” in their own unique ways
Each knows it is he who will make the big plays

Under Friday night lights, while the players get ready
The flow of the fans to the game remains steady
There are fathers and mothers and students and teachers
Who will sit all night long on uncomfortable bleachers
Sometimes the fan base includes the whole town
And they all settle in to watch the first down
They are rowdy and raucous; they are there for the game
And on each autumn Friday each town is the same

Under Friday night lights, the band plays The Star Spangled Banner
Anticipation builds and the crowd starts to chatter
It is almost kickoff time and the teams take the field
Each knows that the other never will yield
They will fight like true warriors trying to guard their own turf
They kick, run, and throw on the grass or the turf
They will play four long quarters and sometimes even more
And when they are done, bodies and souls will be sore

Under Friday night lights, with the game on the line
Fans yell at the refs without reason or rhyme
But the roar of the crowd and the calls of the ref
Do not affect the players; it is like they are deaf
They run and they tackle and they play really hard
They are bumped and they’re bruised just to gain a few yards
They never let down though they might make some mistakes
They still play out their hearts; they give whatever it takes

Under Friday night lights, when the game is all done
One team will have lost while the other team won
On the fifty-yard line they will shake each other’s hands
Then the players will gather as the fans empty the stands
‘Round their coaches they’ll kneel as steam rises from their heads
They’ll listen then give pause to what their coaches have said
Then they will reluctantly leave after hugging each other
The game truly has made them a close band of brothers

When Friday night lights have faded into the past
You won’t remember the number of yards that you passed
But you’ll remember the words that your old coach said,
“Winning is more than the score; it is what’s in your head.”
“Attitude makes you a winner,” he said before every game.
“Win or lose, I will love you. Proud of you, I’ll remain.”
Those words will remain not the sounds or the sights
Of all the football games played under Friday night lights.

© 2007 Michael T. Miyoshi

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