I know everyone is probably watching Project Runway on Wednesday nights but if you get a chance, you really should check out Two-A-Days
on MTV. It's about a high school football team in Alabama and it's really good--granted, there's some of the inevitable staging that comes with any MTV show, but I think it looks at something you don't see discussed much on-line (or, at least, not in the areas I frequent) and that's just how important sports are in a lot of high schools.*
Still questioning why in the world you should watch the show? Okay. Here's two moments (one from the first episode, and one from the third) that are worth checking out:
1. There's a player who, at eighteen, is already recuperating from surgery due to injuries and therefore isn't playing up to what the coaches think is his potential. The player goes home after practice and, during dinner, his mom asks him how he's feeling. He starts talking about stuff and his stepfather looks at him and says, "You're eighteen. You don't have any problems." And his face just collapses. It's one of those exquisitely painful moments that reminds you how the whole "You're young! You can't possibly have problems!" crap is right up there with "These are the best years of your life!" as the most annoying things anyone can ever hear.
2. The team loses a game and the coach screams at the quarterback, who, as the coach had observed earlier, had gotten hit pretty hard ("I never heard a head make a sound like that before, ha ha!"). The quarterback, looking totally dazed, sits there getting yelled at, listens to the post-game dissection of how much they all suck, says he knows he let everyone down, and then goes out into the parking lot and collapses. Turns out he has a concussion, but didn't say anything, and when he finds out he's going to have to sit out at least one game (if not more) he tries to be stoic, but you can tell he's devastated, especially since he comes from a family that's provided a seemingly endless supply of outstanding quarterbacks for the team.
Anyway, as the show airs on MTV, it's on all the time, so if you happen across it, give it a chance.
The American Library Association (ALA)'s Banned Books Week is September 23-30, 2006, and, as of now, you can download information about the program, view the Most Challenged Books of 2005, and vote for your favorite banned or challenged books at http://www.ala.org/bbooks As If! -- Authors Support Intellectual Freedom
-- Young Adult authors report on challenges their books, as well as others, face.
And from the previous link: Banned Book Bracelets
*Although the New York Times
seems to think the show visits a quaint and all-but-vanished era, saying, "And if you're interested in the 1950's -- when high school football players were titans, private doubts haunted them and cheerleaders gave them comfort -- you might visit Hoover, Ala., the Colonial Williamsburg of the Eisenhower era." Because, you know, high school football is DEAD! Except someone forgot to tell all the high schools in my area.