Friday Night Lights … What’s In A Name?

When I first noticed, as it rose above the end zone and above some of the crowd, I was struck, not just by it’s size at that moment but by the orange color of it (not a bad orange though, like that blood orange we’ve been forced to endure for way too long now, but a comfortable orange, a one of the warm, welcoming colors my mother loves so much. Oranges, browns, yellows, burnt reds, similar to my color scheme here in the Attic as a matter of fact, now that I look / think about it, the colors of open arms, the smell of a well spent kitchen and kisses on the cheek). Yes, I know it’s the first full moon to actually happen on a Friday the 13th in quite some time but when it first appeared, slowly rising, at the back of the end zone it didn’t have that eery feel we would so like to read into at this time of year.

No, it was just a majestic, mighty, warm orange thing, hovering and slowly rising, presiding and rolling over a cool breeze of another Friday Night Lights football game.

Later, as it continued its rise it placed itself behind a thin wisp curtain of clouds, illuminating them from behind, finally satisfying, with a wink, that eeriness we imagine of the season just minus some flying bat silhouettes, sounds of howling wolves and / or screaching crows and the maybe haunting creep of a children’s music box. I’m sure this moon smiles at such notions, more than happy to indulge us our needs of a goosebump or two. (the couple of pictures I have here don’t do it justice by any means)

But here I was on the sidelines of another game, watching the moon do what this moon does after another long two hour haul to just north of Albany following a time crunched Friday in my little studio because of such to grab a buck, to genuinely enjoy, once I arrived, the camaraderie of this TV broadcast crew, to be out in the feel of a not too cold yet, pre-fall evening … to just be out actually (don’t do much of that these days) and of course to get some free pizza. Damn fine pizza. Messy fingered square ones tonight. I know, some shit never changes. Ya just gotta feed me.

Though, initially, always dreading that four or so hour round trip, and cursing the need to do it, I find myself, instead, after getting the first week under my belt (last Friday), looking forward to it. I strangely like the often angry pressure of the making sure I’ve got everything covered back at the gig, maybe “motherf*****g” to the air a bit here and there, depending on who’s always last minute Friday crap has to be dealt with, but there is a real joy now, once I’m out the door and on my way. Me and “BB”, my little 2008 Scion XB box of a car. Not a Star Wars thing by the way, not a reference to BB-8, just “Blue Box”. BB’s color is more of a teal, but blue is close enough.

No, I do indeed look forward to it and I’ve got my routine down and a “BB” loaded with whatever I may need for my little weekly road trips. An overkill of a back seat packed with some extra sweatshirts as the season changes, a heavy windbreaker for the ‘just in case’, a change of clothes, my old work gloves and my new ones, some snacks in case I find myself off the road in some non-existent ravine and need something to survive on until help arrives and a backup Pirates’s hat … always gotta have a backup Pirate’s hat. Also a small cooler with some frozen plastic blocks cooling a few seltzers (and some Reeses anything, preferrably dark chocolate, bought to share with the on-field gang at halftime), the anticipation of the Malden (Karl’s Streets of San Francisco) truck stop on the NY State Thruway, the about half way point, for a large coke from McDonald’s to wake my nodding ass up along with a sandwich and then a call to my phone, at this half-way, for directions to whatever High School it is that I’m heading to this time. Thanks Google lady. You’re always way too kind to me amid my cursing’s press for time in Northway traffic.

This week it was Shenendehowa, a name, that, for the life of me, I just can’t remember, even if this week was the third time I’ve been there in the last year. I think it’s because, maybe, my first thought is always “Shenandoah”, damn you Jimmy Stewart and your wonderful Jimmy Stewartyness. The extra syllable just throws me off i guess, I don’t know. Whatever the case, that is where we were last night, with a full orange moon watching / rising / winking over us.

As I got myself set in my usual position of parabolic mic / grip / roadie / happy grunt on the Shenendehowa sideline, I remembered last year’s games. More specifically, I remembered the names on the back of the jerseys of the Shen football team from those games. Following the action with my parabolic is kind of easy, staying just a touch ahead of the play, dancing aside when necessary so as not to get rolled over, ready to catch the sounds of football’s violence as it comes at you or the singular, almost quiet sound of a foot to a ball, but it allows for some thought as you pace up and down the sidelines and I noted then, as I note now, that these guys just have some great names, names that beg reference.

“Fobare” – A misplaced ‘O’ and an extra ‘E’ away, in my mind, from being a really screwed up situation. It could be “Fucked ON, not Up, Beyond All Recognition..with an E..hhh?” Those Canadians always know.

I’m sure there has been written many a certain poetry to a football’s possible fiction. Well Shen has a “Cummings”, e e ie small plays with simple pointed purpose a “Lewis” and a “Carroll” though the only looking glass being one from the press box with a “Penman”, backwards ballcap, pencil and clipboard in hand to make sure it’s all chronicled correctly. There’s even a “Joyce” searching a pigskin’s grand odyssey alone, no Homer to be found among these ranks or a switch of gender to a different “Joyce” and that “Carroll” just trying to find an “Oates” (check the 80’s…he’s the one with a perm and a porn star mustache).

We could grill and “Cook” on a “Hill” overlooking a “Beach” just waiting our 30 minutes before going in for a swim.

“Woodrow” and “Hayes” have presidential dreams but they are trumped by an actual “Trump”. Now this “Trump” could be viewed as just an unfortunate or he could be looked upon as the one who teamates turn a loyal blind eye to when he is accused in a high school version of spygate or deflategate or just rationalize way too “Fahr” that these things aren’t really a big deal. I’m just wondering if this “Trump” gives “McCane” a hard time, even when he’s not in the room.

Short on cash? There’s a “Duchat” and even an extra “Bean” to cover expenses if need be.

“Joyner” just wants to belong while the “Lasher” brothers might just want to do what their name implies, lash out. Maybe anger management courses are in order.

Then there is “Ritter”, the envy of the clubhouse. I mean, who wouldn’t be green of a fall down funny dude who has two really hot female roomates?

For some of the rest? “Smith”? You don’t have to lie when checking into that motel you shouldn’t be checking into. “Dmyszewicz”? I’m thinking hockey may be more in your in future as no normal football name has only 2 vowels and “Stack”? Well, shit, you’re untouchable.

It was a good Friday night and then it was the usual of me and “BB” gettin’ set in a quiet parking lot, making sure we had all our shit in order and then turning around, hitting another McDonald’s on the way out for one more large coke’s awake and a large fry for the ride home all with this no longer orange moon, now a bright, illuminating white one, watching over us. It was so bright I probably could have driven without headlights.

Cheers Moon … and thank ya.

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