The first of September in the South means; the end of summer, men can’t wear seersucker and women can’t wear white after labor day, the opening of dove season, preparing for deer season and oh yeah, college football.
I grew up in a southern ACC basketball state. All of the colleges had football teams but no one cared. Basketball was the sport, basketball was king. David Thompson, Michael Jordan, Grant Hill, Tim Duncan, Dean Smith, Coach K, these were the people who made and crushed dreams. You loved them or hated them, idolized them or despised them, there was no middle ground.
Thirty years ago I moved to a football state (literally just 130 miles from where I grew up). Our state has just two big boy college football teams, one in the ACC and one in the SEC. Each college also has a basketball team but no one cares about basketball. I learned very quickly that I had to pick one team or the other, there was no neutral ground. You could not pull for both, you either loved one and hated the other or you were a wishy-washy heretic. My wife and I chose the team closest to our home to root for. Neither of us attended this school but would eventually send a lot of money to this fine institution educating our children.
Now, I know a lot about football. I played for ten years from the age of eight to eighteen. I was even offered a scholarship out of high school to play for a very small college but chose to hang my cleats up and attend a school that also has a rich football history, we won three straight FCS national championships. It is easy for me to say that I like football, I understand football, but I don’t live or die by how “my” football team performs on the field. Unfortunately, my wife does.
My lovely, sweet, and caring wife has never played a down of football in her life but this woman loves her football. She has three teams she roots for, Clemson, Appalachian State, and whoever is playing against South Carolina. This compassionate and loving woman becomes an obnoxious butt-head watching her favorite teams play either in the stands or in front of the television. It is a transformation that her husband, me, finds both comical and enduring but her children find extremely irritating. Our kids refuse to watch a game with her, so does our cat for that matter. She yells, she cusses (and she not much of a cusser), she stomps and she screams. She has just enough football knowledge to make her dangerous, a danger to herself and to those of us around her.
Yes, college football is a religion. A religion of idols and prays to some deity who doesn’t mind a “shit” or two offered in their request. People’s entire week is either glorified or ruined because of the outcome of a game played on a Saturday by 18 and 20 year olds. I don’t understand it but I gave up trying to understand it years ago. Fortunately the season is short, and for that our cat is very thankful.