DQ Blog

Sep 17, 2009

An Outsider's View

Whenever an East Coast journalist or author turns up in Texas to write about high school football, you can almost hear a collective Buzz Bissinger-induced groan. Based on portraits of the sport as viewed through the lens of "Friday Night Lights" or even worse, "Varsity Blues", it's easy to expect a condescending or even smug characterization of the game and the people who coach, play and support it.

But Jere Longman of the New York Times, who has been in the area since Wednesday profiling Canadian's successful program, already knows the territory. Longman was born in Louisiana and lived in Lubbock three decades ago, giving him an understanding of the passion those in small towns have for high school football. He profiled a Louisiana team which was formed from the ashes of three schools washed away by Hurricane Katrina which went on to win a state championship.

Longman grew up in the small town of Eunice, La., so he has an appreciation of places like Canadian.

"I really enjoyed the access of the kids and the stories I heard," Longman said. "I was looking for another story to do after one I was working on fell through."

Longman says the success of Canadian is a compelling story since the town reinvented itself as an ecotourism haven thanks to events such as the upcoming Fall Foliage Festival. That's pretty hard to argue with, although if Longman really wanted to see what small town Texas high school football is all about, he could have chosen to attend Friday's game between Bushland and Stratford.

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