An hour's drive south of Dallas, in the tiny community of Penelope (population 211), Carlton Stowers found the perfect vantage point from which to view a small town as it came together around their six-man high-school football team. Here, where shopping for groceries is a forty-five-minute round-trip drive and there is no stoplight on Main Street, he followed the hapless Penelope Wolverines in their quest to win their second game in four years since reviving their football program after a thirty-seven-year hiatus. But even as the team struggled, the entire town still came out to show its support every Friday night. Why Because as one Texas writer recently said, "Texas high school football is a six-point favorite over Sunday-go-to-meetin' in most small towns. " A wide-open game in which teams sprint up and down the field and where the combined score can typically exceed one hundred points, six-man football was invented in Nebraska in 1934. At its peak in 1953, 30,000 teams across the country and in Canada competed in the sport. Though there are fewer teams now, it is still played in states as far flung as Texas, New Mexico, Montana, Colorado, and Kansas, among others. A poignant story of a small town, and its unwavering support-through thick and a lot of thin-of the winless Wolverines, Where Dreams Die Hard is a warm and revealing slice of life in the American heartland and of a culture fast disappearing.
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