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OSU Friday Night Lights a Town a Team and A Dream Book Analysis Discussion

*Do Not Own BOOK*

Title: Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream

Directions: You have 7 questions to answer. Answer all these questions in full sentences, using quotes from the book.

You MUST use information from the book and include citations for each question.

1. Considering the experiences of Boobie Miles and Brian Chavez, for example, what role does football play in their lives and in the lives of the people of Odessa? Does football play a similar role in your own community? To what extent do Boobie and Brian’s ambitions and

experiences prepare each of them differently for life after football?

To players like Boobie Miles, football meant the world to him. The moment he got hurt, Boobie looked “scared to death” (pg. 63).

2. Of the Odessa team preparing for the game against Midland Lee, Bissinger writes that “the perfection of their equipment … the solemn ritual that was attached to almost everything, made them seem like boys going off to fight a war for the benefit of someone else, unwitting

sacrifices to a strange and powerful god.” (p 11) In what ways might they be viewed as “unwitting sacrifices”? How would you describe the “strange and powerful god” to whom they were being sacrificed?

3. Bissinger notes that the tradition of Odessa’s Permian Panthers “was enshrined on a wall of the field house” (p 24) and also “in the county library, where the 235-page history that had been written about Permian football was more detailed than any of the histories about the town itself.” What conclusions concerning Odessa might be drawn from the fact that its high school football program is valued more highly than the town’s history? What value does your community place on high school sports?

4. How does what Bissinger characterizes as “the hearty, hair-trigger temperament of the place” affect our view of Odessa and its residents’ attitudes and behavior? What examples of this “hearty, hair-trigger temperament” do you observe in your own community or on the national level? In what ways might it be seen as characteristically American?

5. In what ways does race influence the attitudes and behavior of Odessa’s high-school athletes, coaches, teachers, parents, and fans? What examples of, and explanations for, continuing racism in Odessa does Bissinger provide? Do you see similar examples in your own community?

6. Of Boobie Miles, Bissinger writes, “He had the rawness, the abandon, the unbridled meanness.” And Bissinger makes much of the orneriness, fearlessness, and aggressiveness of many of Odessa’s football players, past and present-and of many of the town’s other citizens. What value do those attributes have for the football players and the community? What other personal qualities might be of equal or greater value?

7. What do Bissinger’s descriptions of classroom activity and teachers’ behavior at Permian High School reveal about the role of education in the lives of the students and adults of Odessa? To what extent are those descriptions pertinent to your own school and community? What might explain, and who is responsible for, the “devastating erosion in standards” (p 131) that many of the teachers cite? Why do you agree or disagree with Bissinger’s statement that the school’s “problems didn’t make Permian a bad school at all, just a very typically American one”? (p 132)

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