Togetherness brought out under Friday night lights, outshines divisive sentiments in society

Friday night lights are typically a tradition reserved for high schools in Texas or TV shows about high schools in Texas.  When comparing levels of school pride, it is easy to think that Westview does not demonstrate the same level of enthusiasm.

The freshman tailgate, however, proved just the opposite.

Looking around at the packed home-side bleachers, I couldn’t help but wonder, Do we even have this many people at school? It seemed every clique had emerged from its comfort zone to support a single school event.

The result was an energetic and diverse crowd of students from every social circle.

The scene was electric. You didn’t need a blanket because people were standing or sitting so close they provided enough heat; they were rowdy with anticipation.

The game had yet to start but the air smelled of sweat, soggy nachos and excitement. That, coupled with the size of the crowd, made it a game that would stick in my mind the next time I heard something in the news about Westview.

Preparing to sing the National Anthem, Abby Kooyman (11) stood in front of the Black Hole.

A hush fell over the expectant crowd. Rows of students, parents and teachers politely basked in the tradition as she sang.

A few lines in, however, a static sound could be heard before the mic ceased to work. The crowd shifted restlessly in response to the silence. Some uncomfortable, others snickering.

Out of the discomfort, however, one unified voice quickly rose—the crowd’s.

With cracked, somewhat splintered, and off-key, but nonetheless booming voices, students, parents, siblings, and fans joined her in singing the National Anthem. Standing, sitting, or kneeling, the crowd united under one voice.

In such a divisive time in our nation’s history, it is easy to forget we are in this together. Across varying political and cultural beliefs, we are all human.

Ultimately, when news reports and profiles focus on vandalism, threats, and drug busts, we need to focus on what Westview is to us. We should recognize and celebrate our differences instead of deepening divides.

If this seems like a statement that has been said over and over again, that’s because it has been. But it is more important now than ever to recognize these moments of change, no matter how small.

Under the bright white stadium lights, Westview had a moment. A moment that unified us. A moment that looked beyond the shallow recesses of our Wikipedia page link to the Aurora shooter and the Fox 5 news piece on drug charges to catch a glimpse of the real Westview.

Maybe I’m wrong, though. Maybe it was nothing more than a nice anecdote to share with your family at the dinner table. Maybe it was even just conditioned herd mentality. Under those Friday night lights, though, it sure did seem that maybe this was what a progressive future could look like.              Linked by an ocean of differences, not separated by one.