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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Television provides apt substitute for school football team

Published: January 23, 2009
Section: Arts, Etc.

diverse-city-1-23-09_page_3_image_0003Brandeis University is a great institution for higher learning (I wish I was being paid to say that). Here at Brandeis the students are treated to some of the finest professors and classes for which any undergraduate could hope. Unfortunately, the students who attend this fine university are missing one vital aspect integral to the college experience (a suitable housing plan for students going abroad next year? Zing). This is, of course, a football team. Nothing says college more than mediocre high school players starting on a division-three football team that gets destroyed week after week, all while a handful of people who know too much about football (but have never played) yell and scream at the players from the stands (sound like a college you know?).

I realize asking for a football team probably sounds pretty selfish. However, there are three things that need to be taken into account before my personal altruistic nature is put on trial. First, unless you count the annual Christmas touch football game where at least one member from each team gets angry and ends up not speaking for three to four hours afterward, I don’t play football. Second, I’m not even good at electronic football. I routinely get punched in the mouth playing Madden with my friends (I’m pretty sure I average four to five interceptions a game when controlling anyone but Peyton Manning). Finally, it is important to note that football builds a sense of community. For example, at my high school, which had a football team, people showed up to the games despite how awful we were and cheered as if we actually had a chance to compete in some of the games. However, since Brandeis is in the midst of a financial crisis (as if your Bmail inbox hasn’t already told you that), I have come up with another suggestion for those football hungry fans. Watch “Friday Night Lights.”

“Friday Night Lights” is a high school drama about a Texas town that loves football. The television show was adapted from H.G. Bissinger’s splendid book and the underrated movie of the same name. The show stars Kyle Chandler as the head coach of the team and revolves around how his family and players deal with the pressure of being scrutinized by the rabid football fan base in their Texas town.

This season (season 3) premiered first on DirectTV and is now showing on NBC. Despite the highly talented cast and superb writing, the show has suffered through three seasons of poor ratings (“Friday Night Lights” is now on Fridays, often referred to as television’s death spot). However, the show has remained on air and has become one of the most consistently good programs on television despite a less than perfect second season story arch involving a death. The show’s heart is with the characters the writers have created. The Taylor family’s relations are both honest and enjoyable, Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford) is one of the most likable characters on television, and Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) can put a smile on even the most hardened television critic’s face.

Thus, since it doesn’t seem as if a football team will be gracing Brandeis with its presence, there is only one other viable option (no, I’m not going to watch the Jumbos play). Turn on the television and watch Kyle Chandler’s hair show more emotion than most actors can. Turn on the television and see what a real “Devil Town” is.

Friday night is game night. This Friday, since you probably don’t have anything better to do, turn on your television.