Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday Night Lights in Real Life

Photo courtesy Variety
Fans of Friday Night Lights know how gritty and contagious this show is. It tells the story of a small west-Texas town's football coach, his family, and his team, the Dillon Panthers. In the first season we meet Jason Street, an all-star quarterback leading his team to state. He is paralyzed at C7 in a bad tackle. Much of the story line revolves around his getting back in life after paralysis: family, girlfriend, lost dreams, community admiration, sense of identity, accessibility, and determination.
Cross country guys circa 1994

We are watching the show from the start --now in season three. His story line is wrapping up. Dana tells me it gets kind of crazy from here. But until now I have found myself reliving my own story through his. We laugh at inside jokes, like when he uses "quad quotes" --picture somebody without finger dexterity using his whole arms to mimic quotes while talking. We cry when he struggles with disappointment. We get angry when others patronize him.
D and M on first visit to D.C.

Dana wasn't around when I broke my neck in high school. She didn't know the pre-paralysis Michael --not that there is much difference. Through our marriage, she has been dealing with the grief and loss my friends and family went through sixteen years ago. It has taken me back to deal with it all too and face things then sixteen-year-old Michael didn't understand or appreciate. It's been our own drama that has challenged us and brought us closer together.


Diane Moody said...

So hard to believe it's been 16 years ago. I still remember getting the news and the heartbreak we all shared for you. But to see the man you've become and that still-incredibly contagious smile of yours tells me you're doing just fine. I've gotta talk Ken into watching Friday Night Lights - sounds great! Blessings on you and your sweet wife, my friend!

Unknown said...

I Friday Night Lights something we get in Arkansas? I still remember, too. LaDonna called and told Mom, Mom told me. I had a cousin named Michael, somehow I thought when she said "Michael" it had to be him. Even when she told me "our Michael" it wasn't real. I was getting ready for work and looked in my purse for something. One of my pictures I was carrying was one of Michael. There he was, smiling at me. That smile released an avalanche of bricks as the whole thing suddenly became reality. Mike, I love you and Dana so much. I am, as I have always been, so proud of you, and very proud to be your aunt.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if there will be a "cure" in your lifetime. What do you think? If ever you guys cross my mind, I always say a quick prayer for that. Is that weird? I don't know. Anyway, great post. You and Dana are so inspiring.

Mike Ritter said...

Diane, thank you. We highly recommend the show.

Aunt Linda, thank you. We love you and are praying for you. Heroes are made in the furnace of adversity.

Sheri, this has been a test of faith for myself and plenty of dear friends. So many have prayed for healing, including myself. So, I am torn between the parable of the neighbor knocking on the door persistently and Paul settling with God on his "thorn in the flesh." Cures come with many unknowns. Spinal cord regeneration is still a ways off.

heidi said...

great post Mike!