People do awful, cruel, and just plain brainless things in the name of sport. Take, for example, fans setting off flares in the stands at the Australian Open this week. Heck, 43 percent of the bad behavior in Dillon, TX, is related to football (the other 57 percent, apparently, is related to sex. There’s a master’s thesis in that somewhere). Tami having the rug pulled out from under her concerning the Jumbotron money and the real powers that be behind Panther football trying to force Tim Riggins into a very non-Riggins shaped box are just this week’s examples.
But one of the things that’s piercing about Friday Night Lights is the way it shows the powerful force for good sports can be when people genuinely buy into the ways a team can elevate individuals–the ways wholes can become more than the sum of their parts. It’s hard to watch Matt have to confront his mother so he can confront his grandmother, but the show more than makes up for it by having Smash’s old teammates reignite his fire. The team makes him better, more than he would know how to be himself. With as much attention as we pay to sports in modern culture (I have the US Figure Skating Championships on as I type), and with so much of it devoted to the Michael Vicks, Pacman Joneses, and Plaxico Burresses of the world, it’s nice to be reminded of how sports can build something better if they’re run by a Coach Taylor.
And to that end, it’s probably appropriate to note we’ll miss Kay Yow.