“Big and Bright: Deep In the Heart of Texas High School Football” by Gray Levy
Football (American), high school, society
September 2, 2015
4 1/2 of 5 stars (excellent)
More than 25 years ago, America was introduced to the culture of high school football in Texas in Friday Night Lights. While that book was very popular in the description of one football program, Big and Bright takes that concept and expands it even further. In this comprehensive book by Gray Levy, football programs from all over the state of Texas are described in great detail.
Levy uses his experience as an educator and a football coach to write about various programs in the state, both in geographic locations and in size. No matter which program he writes about, from Port Lavaca on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico to Albiline in the central portion of the state, Levy writes about the players, the coaches, the games and the community support for each of these football teams.
Through Levy’s writing, the reader will be caught up in the spirit of the town and understand why the communities will support these young men fervently. Also, the experiences of the coaches and the players are captured in each town. This was one of the better aspects of the book, especially when Levy writes about what the coaches would be doing not only on game night, but during the week and during school time as well.
Levy’s experience as a coach and educator make his writing very informative for the reader as well. He also shares his opinion on both the education system and coaching frequently in the book. He does explain why he has these opinions and backs them up with experience or facts as appropriate. One example of this that I enjoyed is when Levy states that he believes that “in general, Texas coaches are less authoritarian than coaches elsewhere.” He then goes on to write about examples illustrating why he believes this. Passages like this make the book very enjoyable to read.
The football passages are detailed, deep and very descriptive. Whether it is a description of the offensive formations, the game action for the week Levy visited the school, or the recap of the season for that program, these sections are rich in description. Football fans that love the game beyond the action on the field and want to know more about the strategy and the “X’s and O’s” will especially enjoy these parts.
This book should be added to the library of football fans of all levels, even if they don’t normally watch high school football. Readers who like books on social interaction and the human aspect of sports or gatherings will also want to read this as well. It was a book that I enjoyed very much and was a very good read.
I wish to thank Taylor Trade Publishing for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Pace of the book:
This was not a quick or easy read as the story for each school’s football program that Levy wrote about was described in great detail so it required careful reading.
Do I recommend?
Fans of high school football will enjoy this book as all aspects of high school football programs are covered in each chapter. Readers who have an interest in the sociology of high school football in Texas and how it bonds entire communities will also enjoy this book.
Book Format Read: