Our friend the sad, melancholy guitar starts back up in the background as Saracen chuckles with very little joy in his face.
It's possible that Saracen's joylessness comes from his having some foreknowledge of the scene that follows, which just makes me feel a bit of "ew" and a lot of "sigh." At least the melancholy music keeps playing in the background as a counterweight to all the treacle. Street drives Lyla home in his Jeep. They both hop out of the car, and Lyla starts a whole bunch of tucked-chin cute-speak, pretending to interview her boyfriend. A series of "Mr. Street, is it true that you can throw forty yards..." blah blah anti-feminism cakes, responding to his affirmative answers by affectedly saying, "Then you must kiss me." They keep this up, and sure, we get it, they have a sweet relationship, they're nice kids, not too smart or interesting, but hard working nice people and zzzzzzz.
Back across town in a modest ranch, the Taylor clan sits together in the family room, each doing his or her own thing. Tami is scanning real estate listings in an Alaska paper, Julie is reading Moby-Dick, Coach is, you guessed it, watching football tapes on the TV. Tami finds a house that sounds real nice, with "his and her closets." She keeps repeating "his and her closets" until her husband, leaned back in a white pleather recliner, asks her to "relent." Meanwhile Julie starts a little free association of her own (Julie! Call Landry!), declaring that Moby-Dick is the "perfect metaphor for this town." Slight misuse of the descriptive "metaphor," but I'll let it slide for the sake of whatever saintly teacher is having his or her students read Melville at sixteen. She goes on, saying that the cold, black sea is the football season's uncertainties; the magical white whale is the holy grail -- the state championship; the whalers are the team; Smash is Queequeg, the African warrior... Her father jumps in, asking if that makes him "Coach Ahab." She's psyched, "Absolutely! Coach, captain, hunter, hunted." You go, girl. If only kids really did read literature so imaginatively. From the kitchen Tami calls out, "His and her closets" while Coach asks his daughter if she's really his.
Tuesday, finally. More early morning AM radio takes us driving across town, more beautiful landscape splashed across the scene. Coach Taylor walks through the school parking lot in his bright blue windbreaker and stops to talk to an older African-American man who's leaning against a beat-up old sedan. Coach Taylor calls this man "Coach" and asks what he's found out about the Panthers' upcoming opponent. They run fast counters and have a tall front line. He advises Taylor to play his tallest kids as defensive ends to give the team some height. Taylor says he likes the idea. Parking Lot Coach tells him it doesn't matter what he "likes" -- it matters that he wins the game. Expectations are so high, and the team is so good, the only place to go is down. He calls it a "lonely place to be startin'" I like that phrase. As Taylor goes to leave, PLC tells him his family life is going to be rough this season. Taylor pauses and says "It ain't that bad -- it's only football." He grins mischievously, and PLC repeats back, "It's only football." Taylor: "[chuckle] It's only football." PLC: "[guffaw]It's only football." The morning sun glints off the camera lens as Taylor walks off.