Hart High School: A Friday Night Lights Imitation

My submission is an imitation of the opening passage of Friday Night Lights by H. G. Bissinger, written for Hart.


Image from harthighschool.org

Jenna Ju

You walk into Hart for the first time and become overwhelmed by the atmosphere that is so hectic, so bustling that something rises in your chest, something that makes you feel invisible and unimportant. Looking to the right, there is door after door indicating different administration offices, a steady stream of students entering and exiting each one. In the middle sits a gym, sporting large letters that form “Alive with Pride.” 

You reach the heart of the quad, seeing planters on which students sit to eat and golf carts speeding through campus, kids scrambling out of their way. You walk in wonder, past a group of freshmen swinging their backpacks in the lunch line, past the irritated upperclassmen who curse at them, past the scholars studying for their Physics test five days in advance, contrasting the seniors enthusiastically discussing the next Senior Ditch Day. 

To the right, past the K Building and the cafeteria that reeks such an unpleasant, sweaty odor that you might mistake it for a locker room, there is a different Hart. It is almost like a sports arena, with fields and tennis courts, most of which hold athletes practicing drills or suffering the wrath of their coach. Walking back left there is still another Hart. It surrounds the library, and it is an area of the school predominantly for the couples that all the singletons gag at, but are secretly jealous of. 

Turning around again, entering the R Building on the other side of the cafeteria where the largest groups loiter, there is a feeling that you will be swallowed by the crowd behind you. And then it surfaces out of nowhere, the long-desired peace and quietness of a practice room, where the bell does not ring, where the label on the outside is missing the E, spelling PRACTIC. Gazing into that room, at the dusty upright piano paired with a bench that has a broken leg, you wonder what it must be like to sit and let your fingers fly across those eighty-eight keys, when all is silent but the comforting melodies of Chopin. 

It was still a place that seemed unpredictable, a paradoxical mixture between exciting and tiring, helpful to a fault but fiercely demanding, spiced with the edge of drama but competitive and highly pretentious. 

It was a place where teenagers of different backgrounds, interests, personalities, and lives could mingle, based on the student population that numbered 2,000. But it was a place also based on the seemingly endless workload that destroyed motivation, the principle that the best way to do your homework was to not do it, which is why most students hated the smartest kid in class, who, beyond allowing anyone to leech off their homework, was the biggest damn nuisance by setting the curve so high that there was no curve.