Google “Texas culture” and you will see that Football plays a prominent role in shaping that culture. From movies such as Friday Night Lights and the new movie being filmed in North Texas called One Heart nothing reveals a true underdog storyline like Texas Football. It may be just a part of the reason that Texans are so proud of their football. When you are a giant, you are a giant and when you are a little guy in football, you are still a giant. You can beat the odds.
My observations revolve around over ten years of living in Dallas-Fort Worth and what I first looked at in terms of Texas football culture as an anomaly and now as a way of life.
I get asked by a lot of businesses, brands and companies as a blogger about some things Texas. One of the things I stress in terms of scheduling is to schedule around football games. So I decided to create this primer on Texas Football culture. I might be missing something so please keep me honest and comment if I am missing anything. Here goes:
1) Football skill building begins at 3 years old. Yes there are clinics for football skill building for your toddler and league play can begin for kids age 4 and up. I have actually seen some parents delay their kids starting kindergarten so that they will be bigger and stronger in high school for football.
2) There are pee wee football leagues for kids ages 5 and up, middle school football and of course high school football. High school games are always (typically) on Friday nights and I have found that many of the middle or junior high games are on Thursdays.
3) Football practices for middle and high school at a lot of Texas schools are twice a day. Early in the morning before school starts and also after school. That means parents spend a lot of time shuttling kids around throughout the day.
4) Don’t forget about the band, the drill team and the support crew. The music and band departments are not shabby either when it comes to supporting the school at football games. I believe Texas has some fantastic high school bands, cheerleaders, drill team and colorguard squads that all support the football team. I was told early on that the “popular” girls deemed the drill team as having a higher status in the high school clique scene over the cheerleaders, contrary to what they show on GLEE with the cheerios. Hence, Dance schools here in the DFW Metroplex are also very competitive and also expensive for parents. Not being sexist but just my observation, the boys have football and the girls have dance. Hence the competition begins.
5) Tailgating – if you know anything about real tailgating then you are going to do it Texas style. The best tailgates I have ever been to have been in Texas. In fact, watching the Dallas Cowboys play on Thanksgiving Day is my favorite part of the holiday. We also have a double dose of football coming this Thanksgiving in Texas area because TCU and UT Austin will be playing on the Thanksgiving holiday.
Only in Texas is it ok to miss Grandma’s for Thanksgiving to go to a football game. Better yet, bring Grandma a long. Dallas has some great tailgating companies and many bring their own flatscreens to the game. Many will just tailgate at the parking lot, watching the game for flat screens they bring in rather than actually going into the stadium.
6) Show me the money – If anyone can recall the homecoming mums. Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys are not the only ones that know how to market football. Below is an example of a mum, photography by Ann Martin Photography.they just built in Allen, TX for Allen High School you will realize that these programs contribute to school programs and in some cases to the local economy. Whether it’s high school or college football, it’s pretty clear that businesses that support these programs also receive a boon to their bottom line. Think about florists and crafters who make
7) What about the football fans? Probably one of the things I admire a lot are the football fans in Texas. The community coming out to watch the homecoming parades, buying fundraiser tickets, and wearing the school shirts even if they don’t have a kid on the team or in the school. The signs that say Go. Also the water towers that showcase how many state championships a town has or the colleges taking about billboards and advertising. Nothing gets a community fired up like a little Texas football. You also can’t walk into a bar without hearing men talk about their football days, their sons and/or the home team record and where those kids are playing now.
So plan your week accordingly for Texas football. Practice for some kids is 6 days a week. Middle school ball is played on Thursdays with high school ball on Fridays. Oh and BTW – when we say “ball” in these parts, we mean football! Parents will leave work early on Friday to follow the team bus 200 miles to where they are playing and then follow the team back getting in at 2 AM at the high school gym. The stadium lights are like the bat signal letting Friday Night fans find the nearest home game and clog up traffic on the freeways. After the game, the team, the band, boosters, cheerleaders, drill team and fans all make a yellow bus caravan back to the high school where they meet up at IHOP to review their plays and programs. The band, the drill team and the color guard gets up at 6 AM the next day to practice their halftime shows. (This I know because my nephew is in the band.)
I won’t even go into Saturday and Sunday because Texas football is a religion around here. Where folks will get up to go to service at 7:30 AM to make it home before the game starts. It’s also where Rotel Dip contests and hot wing challenges get washed down with bud lights either tailgates or at home. Come Monday morning, people will make it a point to come over to you to talk about your team’s loss or win like as if you played in the game yourself. It creates a connection, and a bit of camaraderie. Football is the topic when there is nothing else to talk about. Kinda like when people in other parts of the world talk about the weather, Texans talk about football. If you don’t understand Texas football, then hopefully you do now! Learn about Texas Football Culture
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