Friday, August 29, 2008

Tailgates, Touchdowns, and Tears: A Thank You Note to College Football

Dear College Football,

On the dawn of a new college football season, I wanted to drop you a note to thank you for the joys you bring to myself and many others. As the dog days of August draw to end, a revival in the South takes place. For the new season brings hope, because on that first day in late August or early September , everyone is undefeated. From the powerhouses of the SEC and the Pac-10 to academic schools of the Ivy League, there is only one true goal: WIN. As Georgia opens the year as the number one team, I am reminded of all the great times we’ve had and excited at the new memories this year will bring.

Thank you college football, for creating the largest outdoor family reunion six (or seven, or in Auburn’s case eight) weekends a year. Everyone is your “brother”, “mom”, “uncle” or “cousin”, and is excited to see you again. Despite the table being a fold up plastic one and the flatware being made of plastic, the food is better than most that can be found on at Thanksgiving dinner. There are plenty of hugs to go around and everyone is amazed at how good you look and interested in every little detail of your life.

Thank you college football, from reminding me to never forget my college years. In the working world, 8 AM is the start of a long day behind a desk. But in Athens on Saturday, 8 AM is the perfect time to crack the first of what will be many beers to come. Where meeting up with friends means seeing them again for the first time since last year, and even your friends who moved out west are back. They call college the best time of your life, and every Saturday in the fall brings me right back.

Thank you college football, for the pageantry that professional football can never match nor understand. Pro football cannot touch the traditions of college. Rivalry games, marching bands, cheerleader, live mascots, there is no comparison. Come this Saturday, when the Battle Hymn of the Bulldog Nation echoes over the speakers at Sanford, 92,000 fans will the be in the most exciting place in the world.
He was hungry

Thank you college football for characters that fill our airways. There are those we love (Larry Munson, Keith Jackson, Uncle Verne) and those we loathe (Mark May, anyone at Florida), but they all bring a piece of the pie that make college football the best show on television. I may have not yet been born when Lindsay Scott went 92 yards to beat Florida in 1980, but when David Greene hit Verron Haynes in the end zone to beat the Vols in Knoxville, I understood what people we talking about. I cannot imagine either of those calls without the voice of Larry Munson, the greatest announcer I have had the privilege to hear.

Thank you college football for the debates. From off-season recruiting, to spring games, to summer work outs, and finally kick-off, the conversation about who is the best, what decision the coach should have made, and who will win it all never ends. While we may have not made it the National Championship game with 2 losses in ’07, it sure was fun to make the case.

And lastly, thank you college football for the tears. Tears of joy, tears of defeat, tears of sadness, tears of pain, tears of redemption, and tears of triumph. One minute you rip our hearts out, the next you bring it right back. Few things can bring grown men to tears, but you are definitely the best.

Thanks again and best wishes in 2008,


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