(Note: if you are looking for rational football analysis, this is not the place.)
Good morning! GOOD MORNING! HI! How are you!? Me? Well, I’m WONDERFUL. Do you know why? Do you? DO YOU? *bounces up and down* BECAUSE COLLEGE FOOTBALL IS STARTING!
We made it through the long slog of summer where there’s virtually *NOTHING* sports-related, to the point ESPN makes fun of itself and puts on the Ocho. (There is the CFL, which is wonderful and great and I do thoroughly enjoy watching and no, my husband didn’t make me say that, I am saying it of my own volition.) (In all honesty I’m not sure why Bo Levi Mitchell hasn’t made a billion dollars in the NFL. I’m paying attention.)
But now! NOW! Oh sweet baby Jesus! We get to wake up on a Saturday morning and park ourselves in front of the TV for 20 hours of non-stop college football. *HAPPY DANCE!*
Navy and Hawaii kick off at 8 p.m. PACIFIC. You get a game at almost midnight eastern on the first day*! I will not be leaving my couch.
*I realize some games will have already been played. There is a “week zero” thing happening. Let’s just keep our eyes focused on the first full Saturday, mkay?
This is my Christmas. This is YOUR Christmas.
You wake up, you have some coffee and watch our ridiculous uncles argue about nothing on GameDay. Sure, the show is past its prime. But much like a Christmas turkey, it’s filling and good to nap to, even though it’s bland. People will carry borderline offensive signs and we’ll guffaw under our breath at them and then some pop-country artist will make picks based on the time he had a good meal in West Virginia and then we will get to the games. THE GAMES!
There are games! Look at this beautiful ridiculous lineup of Saturday football! LOOK AT IT! Revel in it. Have your eyes seen anything this beautiful since last September? They have not. No, I do not care if you got married or had babies in the offseason, THIS is the most perfect thing you’ve seen in a year. It’s FOOTBAW TIME and by god we are going to enjoy football!
One of the biggest joys on football opening day is that everyone is undefeated. The possibilities are endless. Your team, yes yours, could win a national championship. Maybe Furman will beat Clemson. Maybe Charleston Southern beats Florida. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE SEASON!
The possibilities for chaos are also limitless. We are guaranteed to see something insane and crazy and we haven’t even begun to contemplate what precisely that is and even if we did, we’d be wrong and there will be something unexpectedly crazy. God I love this dumb sport.
And even if you’re not there at the game, on campus, like I won’t be, you get that feeling, that in the gut of your stomach feeling like you are 18 again and invincible and can drink your weight in Fireball. Note: you cannot.
You know, even without seeing it, that your campus is abuzz. The air has that feeling as it turns to fall. You know, that slightly crisp, slightly woodsy feel. The shadows are getting slightly longer, the days shorter. The kind of weather that makes you want to model for LL Bean. Everyone is happy! Friends are gathering. I am irrationally jealous of all the freshman who get to experience it for the first time as students.
People have brought their A-game to their tailgate. Everywhere is the scent of grilled meats permeating your nose or even just your memory. (Unless you’re at Ole Miss and we won’t even talk about the glorified high tea that is The Grove.)
I spend weeks menu planning. And it’s literally me and my husband watching. You’re welcome to come over. I’m going to make enough food to feed a small army. I’ll have something meaty, something cheesy, something sweet, and in true LSU fashion, something that emulates cooking my opponent. In this case maybe I’m just mixing hurricanes? I don’t really know where to get any good ibis meat. And I imagine that lanky bird isn’t going to be very filling.
In an added bonus, I get to plan for *two* days of menus: my alma mater isn’t playing until Sunday. This is the best gift I could have hoped for, despite the fact that neutral site games are terrible. It means I can flip endlessly through other games without needing to focus on mine. Mine gets its own audience on Sunday, its own menu, my complete dedication.
I will paint my nails in team colors. I will don purple and gold from head to toe but even if I didn’t, my very soul, YOUR very soul, knows, it KNOWS that today is the first day of the season and you are here for your team. And you are here to watch the rest of the games devolve into utter chaos, offering up alms to the mischief god who lords over this sport.
This sport, this sport we devote time and focus and energy to that is basically very young men playing for no money for our amusement (and yes we want to change that), is beautiful. You will marvel at the fleet-footed running. You will yell at your quarterback to throw the dang ball. You will see a wide-receiver make an impossible catch and you will jump up and down screaming. You will wonder what the absolute f*ck your coach was thinking. You will armchair coach this thing and you and 90,000 other people will share frustration and ebullience, whether in person or virtually. I will not be able to tweet or text fast enough for my liking and find it impossible to keep up with my virtual friends and I will LOVE IT.
I am, in my everyday life, an incredibly rational and logic-filled person. I do not behave in a hasty manner and use so much (too much) forethought before I take action. The second opening kickoff happens, every sentient part of my body shuts down and I am a yelling, screaming ball of nerves who believes, truly heart of hearts believes, that how I behave has some outcome on the game. Rationally I know that’s not true. On football Saturday? It’s absolutely true.
That said, the greatest gift I’ve been given by my spouse (besides all that love and fidelity nonsense) is an appreciation for each individual game. Which is, again, why opening day is so wonderful. Yes, your team can reach the highest heights. But if you enjoy this perfect moment for what it is, each game in its individual glory, the rest is gravy. Only one team can win the national championship and we all know that’s going to be Alabama. Again. So why not enjoy those smoked meats and the friendship and yelling at your team to run the dang ball and finish their damn tackles for what it is? BEAUTIFUL. It’s all just so damn beautiful.
But beating Alabama would be really, really nice. Yes, it would. *glares at Ed Orgeron*
May you all enjoy these beautiful moments and don’t forget to leave some Fireball as tribute to the god of chaos, because that’s what makes this sport the best of them all.