ESPN The Magazine

Wright Thompson shares photos, memories from his Texas football road trip

In ESPN The Magazine’s State of Football issue – currently on newsstands – senior writer Wright Thompson traversed the state’s east-west Interstate 20.

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Thompson made several stops along the way to find out how the national narratives of football are playing out in the nation’s hotbed. On the (boot) heels of Thompson’s “Texas Road Trip: 9 Exits on America’s Football Highway,”Front Row caught up with him to discuss the piece and offer some photos from Thompson himself (above).

What was the most challenging aspect of your road trip assignment?
Honestly, not having a heart attack from the endless daily assault by chicken fried steak and Whataburger Jalapeño Doubles. Truly.

What was the process in putting the story together?
We just drove and stopped when we saw something interesting, or something Jared Moossy, the incredible photographer, wanted to take a picture of. We canceled a few things as the arc of the story emerged: a story of enduring in the face of, moving west, following the people who settled the state and try to keep it settled now. I love Texas and Texans and so this was all a joy.

What was your favorite aspect of the experience?
The long stretches of road, seeing the state change from the swamps near the Louisiana border to the mesquite-lined desert plains out toward Odessa. The only things you see everywhere are football fields and oil pumpjacks.

<strong><center>Texas Flavor</center></strong>
As always, ESPN has extensive coverage of football on its platforms at this time of the year and the state of Texas is showcased regularly over the next few days, beyond the usual news and highlights. (All times Eastern)
Thursday, Nov. 27: LSU at Texas A&M, 7 p.m., ESPN
Saturday, Nov. 29: Texas State at Georgia State, 2 p.m., ESPN3
Saturday, Nov. 29: FCS Playoffs: Southeastern Louisiana at Sam Houston State, ESPN3
Saturday, Nov. 29: Baylor vs. Texas Tech, 3:30 p.m., ABC, ESPN2
Saturday, Nov. 29: FCS Playoffs: Stephen F. Austin at Northern Iowa, ESPN3
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