The end…and the beginning.
Here, during the prime Dog Days of August, it has snuck in quietly, bringing legions of supporters with it. A force to be reckoned with. Its shield reflects the colors of whatever region it calls home, the supporters wild and crazy, ranging in age from 5 to 95. And once it has taken hold, it doesn’t budge until the Ice Days of January.
Football is Back.
Dyed-in-the-wool hardcore fans say that these first three pre-season games don’t count. That teams are whittling down 75-80 combatants to a mere 53. Try telling that to diehards who have waited 192 days, 30 hours, and upteen minutes and booga upteen seconds to be able to wear their jerseys again.
I should have sensed it coming.
The first indication of the season to come was an increased selection of bratwursts and beer. Football jerseys and shirts of every shape and size called out from the front rows of Walmart and Target. Invites to Football Fantasy leagues filled e-mail boxes all over the country.
Yet I wanted to bask in the sun and laziness of Summer for just a little longer. Fight the mosquitoes just a little longer. Try to go to sleep while it’s still light out.
But I was denied.
Today was the clincher. It was declared “Packer Casual Day” at work.
I was afloat in a sea of green, my little navy number 6 a chuckle to the masses. I survived pretty well, holding up my end of the football spectrum as well as I could. I live in Packer country, you see, where Bears are eaten for breakfast. Silly carnivores…
Football fans of all ages and locations begin to shout at their TVs during the pre-games just as a warmup of things to come. As if the announcers, coaches, and players could hear them. Who knows — maybe on some cosmic level they can. And most times it’s not pretty. Football fans know that technically we are all equal during the first pre-season game — that we all start from zero. But they will also point out that some teams are more zero than others.
It’s not that I have a dislike for Fall — or football. I love them both. But somehow the thought of people sitting in the stands, watching players who will soon be just a name on a piece of paper, the heat at a swell 90 degrees — well, I can think of better places to spend my Dog Days. Like at the beach.
In my house, the blam bang of tackles and missed tackles and stupid calls from coaches and snide remarks from announcers will bounce off the walls from Thursday through Sunday night from now until January. That’s plenty of chaos for me.
Until then, I think I’ll play it cool. Very cool. I’ll just watch the pre-season games in my air conditioned house.
That way no one can hear me screaming at the TV. Stupid refs…