"Friday night lights... when the lights come on, there's no other feeling in the world. It's almost like an automatic adrenaline pump." In 1988, Bob Highley was a fixture on the football sidelines of Odessa. He may have been the head baseball coach and JV football coach, but he know's what it's like to pace about under Permian High School's Friday night lights.
Everyone played a roll in varsity football when Friday rolled around. Coach Highley remembers, "The band would come down the side marching five or six abreast and would play Grandioso as soon as they were visible and it was a blaring brass almost as stirring as the National Anthem for the Permian player. For six years, it was a tremendous privelage to be part of something that good. It wasn't just winning in football. It was an attitude and isn't that what life is all about is attitude?"
Bob now lives in Lubbock, more than 100 miles from Permian's field of dreams. But distance can't keep the sound of a band playing from bringing chills. His Permian memories are still so vivid, even the best filmakers in Hollywood can't capture them. Bob says, "It's going to be very emtional. I don't want it to be disrespected. That's going to be my biggest problem. I respect the program. I have a problem with Mr. Bissinger, the author of the book, because of the deceptions and things and I hope the movie doesn't come across that way."
Despite reservations, Bob's family has tickets to see Friday Night Lights on Saturday of course! He promises not to get hung up on the little things as long as the movie is true to a group of athletes, coaches and fans who would not settle for anything but the best. He says, "I think that's a basic human need to be a part of something that's bigger than yourself and Permain fulfilled that need in a good way. Some though did it wrongly. A lot of mothers and fathers put undue pressure on some of the kids, but for the most part, for the big picture, it was positive. It was great."
Coach Highley has replayed the movie in his mind for nearly 16 years. Now, he leaves it as a memory immortalized on the silver screen.
Tickets for opening night sold out at both Tinseltown and Movies 16.