Friday Night Lights

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Mike Winchell Character Analysis

Permian’s quarterback, Mike Winchell is a talented passer with a love for the game. But Winchell, whose father died when he was a young boy, is often beset by worry when he is on the field, and occasionally his anxiety keeps him from throwing the ball accurately. Winchell is not recruited out of high school, but briefly plays football as a walk-on at Baylor, a university in Waco, Texas.

Mike Winchell Quotes in Friday Night Lights

The Friday Night Lights quotes below are all either spoken by Mike Winchell or refer to Mike Winchell. 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.
Chapter 4: Dreaming of Heroes Quotes

After Billy died, Mike’s life didn’t get any easier. He had a brother who was sent to prison for stealing. At home he lived with his mother, who worked at a service station convenience store as a clerk. They didn’t have much money. . . . His mother was enormously quiet and reserved, almost like a phantom. Coach Gaines, who spent almost as much time dealing with parents as he did with the players, had never met her.

Related Characters: Buzz Bissinger (speaker), Gary Gaines, Mike Winchell
Page Number: 81
Explanation and Analysis:

Bissinger moves on to describe the physical, emotional, and financial deprivations of another member of the Permian Panthers. For Mike Winchell, life has more or less always been difficult. Football, though it seems brutal from the stands, is actually a form of comfort to him. The game has rules that can be followed, and there is a winner and a loser. This is true for many of the Permian Panthers: the violence of the football field is nothing compared to the difficulties one encounters at home or in school.

Bissinger's description of Mike's family life indicates some other features of life in the Odessa region. There is a sense of reserve throughout the place, especially among families who have lived in rural communities for a long time—an unwillingness to complain openly about the difficulties that have wracked their lives. This then exists in contrast to the showiness of the football displays, the parades, and the booms of oil wealth. These contradictions—the quiet "grin and bear it" attitude mixed with the flash and pizzazz of a football parade—are the foundations of the Odessa community. 

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Chapter 12: Civil War Quotes

How could he have called the plays he did? What had happened to him in the second half, going time and time again with those plodding, thudding sweeps? Didn’t he remember the gorgeous bomb Winchell had thrown in the second quarter, so perfect it was like something in a dream? . . . .

Related Characters: Buzz Bissinger (speaker), Gary Gaines, Mike Winchell
Page Number: 258
Explanation and Analysis:

In this section, Bissinger imitates the complaints that Permian fans might lodge against Gaines when the game does not go his way. This is how coaching is difficult: fans, who do not have an immediate inroad into the team's construction and game-plan, nevertheless feel that they are part of the Permian Panthers, and therefore more than able to comment on the teams' on-field performance.

Gaines understands that these complaints, and the handling of them, are part of the job of the head coach of the "Mojo" squad. He does his best to take them in stride. But Bissinger notes just how taxing it can be to drown out the noise that some of even the most devoted fans direct at their beloved team. People love Permian football, but they love it in no small part because the team is so wildly successful so much of the time.

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Mike Winchell Character Timeline in Friday Night Lights

The timeline below shows where the character Mike Winchell appears in Friday Night Lights. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
Football Theme Icon
Wealth, Poverty, and the Boom-Bust Cycle Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
Mike Winchell, the quarterback for the team, remarks to himself—as Bissinger reports—that he wishes he could... (full context)
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
...scores again, going up 22-21, and though Permian mounts several drives to retake the lead, Winchell cannot manage to lead the team back into the end zone. Permian loses the October... (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
...all seniors, are introduced, to shouts of MOJO in the crowd. Although some players, like Winchell, seem uncomfortable in the spotlight of the Feed, others, like Boobie, soak in the applause... (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
...in him. Boobie is an agile, quick, explosive runner, and many on the team, including Winchell and Jerrod McDougal, say he’s “the best player they’ve ever seen.” Boobie’s uncle, LV, acts... (full context)
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
...that, once Boobie is ruled out for the first part of the ’88 season, quarterback Mike Winchell realizes that a good deal of the team’s offensive pressure will now fall on... (full context)
Chapter 4: Dreaming of Heroes
Football Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
Bissinger recounts in brief the life story of Mike Winchell, Permian’s starting quarterback. Mike’s father, Billy, died when Mike was thirteen—Billy had been injured... (full context)
Football Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
Mike became the Panthers’ starting QB when he was a junior. He was a talented passer,... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Ambivalence of Ivory
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
...game stays close, then Marshall goes up, 13-12, with only one possession left for Permian. Winchell leads his team up the field, but is unable to convert near the end zone,... (full context)
Chapter 10: Boobie Who?
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Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
Briefly, at the close of the chapter, Bissinger notes that Winchell has had a very strong beginning of the season, especially in the Abilene game, where... (full context)
Chapter 12: Civil War
Football Theme Icon
Wealth, Poverty, and the Boom-Bust Cycle Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
After the loss to Midland Lee, the players are devastated. Winchell worries that he has lost the game for his team, and Chavez and McDougal are... (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
...and effort. The game is in Austin, in December, and it is wet and icy. Winchell before the kickoff, worries that the wet grass and cold weather will give him a... (full context)
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
The game begins, and Winchell’s prediction seems accurate. He cannot get much momentum offensively, and though Chris Comer scores first... (full context)
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
...closes this part of the book with a scene of trainers removing the names of Winchell, Chavez, Christian, and others from the lockers, preparing to post up new names, for the... (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
...plays a little college football and reflects positively on his experiences with the Permian team. Winchell walks on at Baylor, after having been refused a scholarship to play D-1 football, but... (full context)