Do you ever miss the previous incarnation of yourself? The one pre-motherhood. I’m a stay-at-home-mom. I feel very fortunate to do so, but I had a life before my boys. I had a career that I more than willingly not just put aside, I ended. As in closed the book on that incarnation of me. Well maybe not the whole book, but at least a chapter. I was good at my job, & I really did love it. Sure, as with any job, there were some minor (& even major) annoyances, but at the end of most days I felt I made an impact. I was a High School Athletic Trainer. Not the most glamourous of careers & certainly not the most lucrative, but so unbelievably rewarding. I loved working with high school kids, & I even loved working with their parents, as crazy & utterly devoted as they were. I have a running tally of things parents did to annoy the crap out of me when I was working, & I have sworn my hubby to cart that thing around with me if my boys ever play competitive sports. But even most of that was laughable at the time & now that I have the context of my own children I can understand in a whole different way where these parents were coming from.
What got me thinking about all of this was that I just watched possibly the finest hour of television I have seen in years. The season finale of Friday Night Lights.
Now I know I like to gush about this show, I can’t help it. It is just that good. And this final hour of season 3? Perfect. All of our characters were addressed. Who’s moving on. Who’s staying. Who’s life is working out just as they hoped. Who’s life has just been turned upside-down. Yep, we got all of those & more. The best part of this show is what is left to our imagination. The show never belittles the audience by giving too much exposition, in fact often we get small (yet satisfying) snippets of each of our characters lives. What isn’t shown is almost as interesting as what is.
I watch this show every Friday night & I get all nostaglic about that previous incarnation of myself. About those Friday night lights. I never worked in Texas, & the insanity that is Texas high school football (some towns have high school football stadiums that seat more people than the population of the town), but I have worked in 5 different high schools from big to small, rural to urban. Sunburns. Concussions. Broken arms. Dislocated joints. Vomiting. Two cases of appendicitis. Fractured skull. Spine board. Taped ankles (wrists, fingers, etc.). Heat. Wind. Rain. Snow. 3 hr lightning delay. Fights with coaches. Fights with parents. Fights with kids. I’ve seen a lot. But this stuff all sort of fades & the stuff that sticks out is the interaction with the kids themselves. I know that I didn’t have an effect on all of them, but you can tell the ones who actually listen to you. The ones who just come by to say hi, or tell you a story, or ask your advice. I guess that was the part of my job that made it all worthwhile. The part that I miss. Helping to get those kids (all in one piece) to the next phase in their lives.
As in real life, characters on Friday Night Lights have to move on to that next phase. There may be a little emptiness, but new faces arrive & hopefully fill those spaces. I am so excited that NBC has decided to pick up FNL for at least another 2 seasons (13 episodes per season, airing in the fall on DirecTV channel 101, then starting in January on NBC). I will continue to watch for my little bit of nostalgia. It helps me realize that it was a wonderful chapter in my life, as I’m busily writing the next one.