Friday Night Lights

Pdf fan
Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

Boobie Miles Character Analysis

A talented African American running back on the Permian squad with dreams of playing Division I college football, Boobie injures his knee in a preseason scrimmage and must sit out much of the season. When he returns, midway through the Panthers’ campaign, he finds that he runs “tentatively,” and is effectively benched in favor of junior Chris Comer, who is having a breakout year. The white coaches of the team often think that Miles is too self-centered, and not tough enough. Miles eventually quits the team to get season-ending knee surgery and, out of frustration with his uncle LV, moves out of the home they share for a time, before returning and playing football for a local two-year junior college. He never achieves the level of play he once expected.

Boobie Miles Quotes in Friday Night Lights

The Friday Night Lights quotes below are all either spoken by Boobie Miles or refer to Boobie Miles. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Football Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Perseus edition of Friday Night Lights published in 1990.
Prologue Quotes

Boobie stood in the corner of the darkened room with his arms folded . . . ‘I quit, coach, they got a good season goin’.’

Related Characters: Boobie Miles (speaker), Nate Hearne
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:

Boobie is upset that his season might be over, and that he won't get a chance to prove himself on the field because of his injury. Football has helped Boobie to escape a difficult childhood, and his caretaker, LV, has encouraged Boobie to focus on being a great running back, perhaps at the expense of Boobie's classroom education. So there is a lot riding on Boobie's time at Permian; he can only go to college if he receives an athletic scholarship.

But this passage is also tinged with the racial politics that run throughout the book. Black coaches for the Permian Panthers tend to support black players, and white coaches white players. Sometimes white coaches express the idea that certain black players are more concerned with their individual achievements than with team ones. These criticisms aren't fair, nor are they grounded in reasoned opinions. Instead, Permian exhibits the same racial prejudices—largely of white Americans against Latino/a and African Americans—that can be found throughout Texas, and indeed throughout the country, toward the end of the twentieth century. 

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Friday Night Lights quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Chapter 3: Boobie Quotes

My last year . . . I want to win State. You get your picture took and a lot of college people look at you. When you get old, you say, you know, I went to State in nineteen eighty-eight.

Related Characters: Boobie Miles (speaker)
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:

Boobie is repeating what is, for the players, a common refrain: that winning the state championships would be a crowning achievement in life. Boobie says this because, it must be admitted, he wants some of the glory for himself. But the truth is, all the players for Permian want some of this personal glory—and all the players enjoy the adulation they receive from classmates when they walk through the halls. Boobie is no exception to this.

What is perhaps different, for Boobie, is the centrality of football to his life, both as a young man and as a young African American man in Odessa. For others on the team, there are lives of potential that unfold beyond the football field, as gainful employment is easily available to them after a stint in college. These opportunities are technically available to Boobie as well, but anti-black prejudice in Odessa is a powerful thing. Boobie (when he is successful) is an emblem of the team's football power, when otherwise he is rarely treated by his white classmates as a person deserving of respect. Thus, for Boobie, football success takes on other layers of importance. 

I won’t be able to play college football, man . . . It’s real important. It’s all I ever wanted to do. I want to make it in the pros . . . .

Related Characters: Boobie Miles (speaker), Trapper
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:

This is an extension of Boobie's desires as expressed in the quotation above. For Boobie, playing in college and in the pros is a way of continuing the kind of adulation and personal affirmation he receives as a high-school player. Although these are very difficult dreams to achieve, Boobie believes—and perhaps rightfully so—that he has the talent to make it. And as above, a professional football career is one of a relatively limited set of options available to young African American men in the region. 

What Boobie unfortunately does not have, and what is also required to succeed in football beyond college, is a good deal of luck, especially with injuries. Football is a brutal sport, and people are often injured so severely they cannot return to the field for months, or a year—or ever. Boobie's knee injury is serious enough to limit his explosiveness, which causes him to lose his ability to "cut" on the field. This loss means he is a less highly-touted recruit.

Chapter 10: Boobie Who? Quotes

For LV, watching Boobie play against Abilene had been harrowing. On every play he couldn’t help but worry that his nephew would do further damage to his knee, even though the brace did provide good protection. He saw the emotional effect the injury was having on Boobie—the prolonged periods of depression as one Friday night after another just came and went.

Related Characters: Buzz Bissinger (speaker), Boobie Miles, LV
Page Number: 215
Explanation and Analysis:

LV understands that football, and then the lack of football, have severe emotional effects on Boobie. Boobie was immensely successful at a very young age, and was injured according to a stroke of bad luck—there was nothing he could do to prevent the tearing of his ACL. The depression Boobie feels, severe as it is, is an indicator of what awaits, in some form,for  many Permian players after their high-school football days are over. This is the boom-bust of the high-school star's career. First there is great acclaim, and the power of the "Friday Night Lights." But later there is an entire life to live, and very little direction as to how to live it.

After Boobie has been injured, LV recognizes that perhaps it was not the best policy for him, and for Boobie, to place so much emphasis on a college and pro career in football. But their gamble is an understandable one, as football provides a way out of relative poverty for so many in the Odessa community (and particularly for young black men). 

Get the entire Friday Night Lights LitChart as a printable PDF.
Friday night lights.pdf.medium

Boobie Miles Character Timeline in Friday Night Lights

The timeline below shows where the character Boobie Miles appears in Friday Night Lights. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
...for the 1988 season and hope to make the state tournament. The book begins as Boobie Miles, a running back for Permian, thinks about his previous game against Cooper High, and... (full context)
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Wealth, Poverty, and the Boom-Bust Cycle Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
The narrator—the author, Buzz Bissinger—repeats that Boobie “feels good” as he goes through the preparations before the Midland Lee game. He can... (full context)
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
...trading touchdowns early. A talented running back named Chris Comer scores early for Permian, and Boobie, who is still on the bench, becomes upset that another player has stolen his position—and... (full context)
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
Nate Hearne, an African American assistant coach for the Panthers, tries to convince Boobie, who is also black, to remain on the team, for his teammates. The other coaches,... (full context)
Chapter 2: The Watermelon Feed
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
...Although some players, like Winchell, seem uncomfortable in the spotlight of the Feed, others, like Boobie, soak in the applause of the fans. Boobie seems excited to pick up at running... (full context)
Chapter 3: Boobie
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Wealth, Poverty, and the Boom-Bust Cycle Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
Boobie prepares for the first scrimmage of the ’88 season, two days after the Watermelon Feed.... (full context)
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
During the first scrimmage of ’88, however, against a high school called Palo Duro, Boobie gets his toe caught in the artificial turf, and a Palo Duro player falls on... (full context)
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Wealth, Poverty, and the Boom-Bust Cycle Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
...switches to a narrative of LV’s upbringing, in Crane, Texas. LV has become invested in Boobie’s football career in part because LV himself was not able to play football at Bethune... (full context)
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Wealth, Poverty, and the Boom-Bust Cycle Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
LV himself admits that he displaced his dream of a football career onto his nephew Boobie, whom he rescued from foster care in the Houston area when Boobie was five. Boobie’s... (full context)
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
Boobie, as Bissinger explains, is “classified as a learning disabled” student at Permian High. Boobie struggles... (full context)
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
After the Palo Duro scrimmage, Boobie is told that he only has a seriously sprained, rather than torn, ligament in his... (full context)
Chapter 4: Dreaming of Heroes
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
...Comer has several impressive runs, piquing the coaches’ interest, especially after the devastating knee injury Boobie has suffered. Don tells Bissinger after the game that he is frustrated another black player... (full context)
Chapter 7: School Days
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Wealth, Poverty, and the Boom-Bust Cycle Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
...reverse this trend, but does not seem especially hopeful that much will change. Bissinger shadows Boobie one day in school, and notes that many of Boobie’s classes are taken far below... (full context)
Chapter 10: Boobie Who?
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
Bissinger returns to Boobie Miles, who, since that first scrimmage of the season, has been rehabbing his knee injury,... (full context)
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
Boobie does eventually get some playing time the following week against Abilene, a team that, in... (full context)
Chapter 13: Heads or Tails
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Wealth, Poverty, and the Boom-Bust Cycle Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
Bissinger describes Boobie’s remainder of the season. After the last regular-season game, Boobie officially quits the team—he says... (full context)
Chapter 16: Field of Dreams
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
...Crow, former Permian standout, is watching the game nervously, as is Gaines’ wife Sharon, and Boobie, in the stands, where he wonders whether he made the right decision leaving the team.... (full context)
Epilogue
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Wealth, Poverty, and the Boom-Bust Cycle Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
...his dreams of being a preacher seem largely to be put on the back burner. Boobie reconciles somewhat with his uncle LV, and plays for a junior college, though his knee... (full context)