January 09, 2008

Lisa: In case you were wondering...

Despite being married to a high school football-playing jock, I have no interest in football--I didn't in high school, and I don't now. And forget watching football on TV; on Superbowl Sunday, I only watch the halftime show. That said, I have fallen in love with Friday Night Lights.

As a relative newcomer to high school football culture (and certainly to the all-encompassing version that surrounds Texas high school football), I suddenly found myself needing to know the difference between a cheerleader and a rally girl--and whichLyla Garrity is.

Exhibit A: In FNL's first episode, Lyla says she has to go to "rally rehearsal," so I figured she was a rally girl.
Exhibit B: At the end of episode 2, the Dillon rally girls are shown delivering baked goods to their Panthers in a sequence that ends with Lyla bringing Jason a cookie in the hospital. Is this because she's his rally girl, or does she do it (and does he forego the services of a rally girl) because she's his girlfriend? Incidentally, (just like Wallace's spirit boxes on Veronica Mars) treat-bearing rally girls apparently do exist in real life.
Exhibit C: The show definitely considers cheerleaders and rally girls to be two separate things. Lyla notes their uncharacteristic alliance (and by implication, their accustomed rivalry) in making Jason's banner. The casting calls for extras support this, noting that 'cheerleader' is a specialty role, while rally girls (though required to be "super cute") receive standard pay.
Exhibit D: The Wikipedia entry on cheerleading doesn't mention rally girls at all, but I love that the neutrality of the article is in dispute.
Exhibit E: TWoP forum participants know all. BananasFoster explains that being a cheerleader is more prestigious and exclusive, while anyone can be a rally girl. TexasTumbleweed agrees, adding that the rally girls are indeed the providers of spirit boxes and banners. It sounds like rally girls are a lot like what we called "pep club" at my school.

Verdict 1: I think Lyla must be a cheerleader. She's often shown on the sidelines of the game, cheering in the uniform and with pom-poms, just like my school's cheerleaders. Plus, she was dating the star quarterback--clearly a role only a cheerleader can fill. "Rally rehearsal" must have meant practicing for a rally, not practicing with her fellow rally girls.
Verdict 2: I have spent too much time thinking about this.
Verdict 3: I love the internet.

Posted by lisa at January 09, 2008 01:04 PM

I would like to add:
1. Rally girls are definitely below cheerleaders. It seems that some football players think they can use the poor rally girls to satiate their other, non-cookie related, appetites. Rally girls, you will not be his girlfriend if you agree to a threesome. Also, since when were people even considering threesomes in high school?! I feel so old.
2. The rally girls may or may not wear sequined outfits, as opposed to the (quite cute, i think. well, considering.) rayon cheerleader outfits.

Posted by: sarah on January 9, 2008 03:53 PM

um wow....I love how you can take a simple quandry and complicate it into a masterful, hilarious, and informative argument. Also I've never heard of a rally girl or a spirit box but it sounds dirtily peppy. Give me a W. Give me an H. Give me an O. Give me an R. Give me an E. mmm I love chocolate chip cookies.

Posted by: Jeremy on January 9, 2008 04:01 PM

p.s. Maybe, since pilots are often written long before any other episodes, Lyla was originally intended to be a rally girl?

Posted by: sarah on January 9, 2008 04:03 PM

sorry to inundate you.
i just remembered the line you referenced with Lyla saying that she had rally rehearsal. when i heard that line, i assumed she meant practicing for a rally. now i remember.
signing out!

Posted by: sarah on January 9, 2008 04:10 PM

Thank you Lisa and Sarah for inspiring me to watch this show. You see, I have been toying with the idea of trying to get the first season from the library for several weeks now, but I have not put much effort into it. However, after reading your blog, I realize that I MUST go get the first season and get addicted on this show. Especially since the writer's strike does not appear to be ending any time soon, and I need a show to be obsessed with (besides bad reality TV on Bravo! and VH1). Thanks, ladies!

Posted by: Meredith on January 12, 2008 06:35 PM

This is too funny - I have just become addicted to FNL also, and came a google-surfing to find the answer to this exact question! Thank god someone has already looked into it for me...

Posted by: Louise on February 5, 2008 03:43 PM
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