It’s July, SEC media days are preparing to start and college football is once again coming to the center stage of our sporting universe.
We can already smell the fresh cut grass and chill in anticipation of those first brisk breaths of Autumn on Saturday afternoons.
It is a time when communities across the United States more than double in population and swell with hope and anticipation for those several hours leading up to “our” team’s college football game.
You don’t have to love football, a lot don’t, but they are fans. Fans in the truest sense. It’s their school, their mascot, their pride and their fight. Decades-old transgressions are never forgotten, rivalries are renewed, and certain expletives fly with abandon.
Whether you are a “Hoggie”, “Tiger”, “Sooner”, “Longhorn” or “Aggie” you get what I am saying. The day to day doesn’t stop, life doesn’t stop, but it sure gets a lot fuller.
Right now, diehards are checking predictions, point spreads, and player positions. Spending hours of time trying to figure out the season’s outcome before the first snap. Even the more casual fan has the first game marked on a calendar somewhere.
For “their team” diverse groups of people band together in a single spirit. True unity of purpose. Caught up in the euphoria of the common goal. Ignoring huge chunks of bias, at least for a few hours.
Fans, through donations and patronizing their teams, build massive monuments and architectural masterpieces in tribute. Those same fans allow for the education of children without many options, provide income to families, and support the marketing of higher education across the globe. Sometimes we fall short of being good ambassadors of our institutions and teams through stupid angry behavior, but all in all the vast majority are a credit to the sport.
Of course there are “darker” sides of college football. Arguments about the payment of players having their tuition already paid, the exploitation and abuse by certain players or coaches, cheating, betting, and the wackadoo college football playoff oligarchy (a topic I could talk about for hours).
Even with all that, fans continue to present a purity of the endeavor. You can choose to accept the fact our institution of college football has an astoundingly far-reaching impact within our nation, even with its flaws. I mean, do you want to throw the “baby out with the bath water”?
You could simply write it off as a dangerous, myopic, tragedy, leaving chaos and destruction in its wake. What most of us do is point out identified (or perceived) flaws, in hopes it will affect change. As with anything, sometimes change happens quickly, sometimes slowly. Change may never happen, for one reason or the other.
Regardless of how you wish to portray college football, I will be there, right in the middle of it, with thousands of other screaming fans. One thing I can say with a certainty is you need to buckle up because it’s going to be a bumpy ride. College football welcomes all.
You know, even if it’s not football, find your passion and plant your flag.