I promised several of you that I wouldn’t turn this blog into a platform for my fan following of the University of Texas Longhorns. And I swear this is not about the Horns. They might get mentioned but this is why I love college football, why September is my favorite time of year and why I still have a crush on the football coach from my middle school – Coach Cooper.
I love football for a lot of reasons and it just seems easiest to start with a list.
- Because fourth down and inches is always exciting. I don’t care which team you are cheering for. Whenever a team goes for it on 4th down with inches – Every single person in the stadium is riveted to the action. Its a feeling of tension, excitment and nervous energy like no other that I know.
- Because for the most part stadiums are named for great traditions, coaches or ideas not corporations. Well, except Oklahoma State but T. Boone did buy the stadium – so his name should be on it. But don’t you just love names like Kyle Field, The Swamp, The Horseshoe, Bryant-Denny, Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium, and Death Valley.
- Because honest to goodness you never ever know what’s going to happen on any given Saturday.
- Because there aren’t playoffs. Because you have to get it done on the field every Saturday. And because this system isn’t perfect.
- Because you can still get sunburned on January 1 if you are the east side of the Cotton Bowl even if its 15 degrees outside.
- Because some schools still use live animals for mascots. Which is just plain awesome. Ralphie the Buffalo, the tiger from LSU, Bevo, Reveille, the Tech horse… what have you…. and they are all tended by college boys that are trying to sweat out their bender from the night before.
- The Rivalry Games. In pro football, there isn’t the absolute hatred of your opponent (except maybe the Cowboys and Eagles)… but the rivalry game in college is like no other thing in the world. Georgia v. Florida. Arkansas v. Alabama, Texas vs. OU, OU vs. OSU, Texas vs. A&M, THE Ohio State vs. Michigan, Army vs. Navy, USC vs. UCLA, Oregon vs. Oregon State… I can’t think of anything as exciting as gearing up for those games. God, and they have names too! Like the Civil War, the Apple Cup, and the Red River Rivalry…
- The hit that you hear. You know what I mean… you might not see it, you might miss it cause its downfield but you hear it … the crunch, the whack and then awwww sound from the collective audience. Its one of the greatest sounds in the world. The very best part of it though, when the kid stands up, shakes it off and gets back in the game.
- Because the love of a college team immediately bonds you to other people. When someone finds out that you roll tide, and they do to. Boom. Automatic trust. When you see the Aggie ring, you know you like them a little better than the other guy.
- Because, though not a player or a coach or a ref, I have gotten to be a part of it. The conferences, stadium personnel, referrees, coaches and staff that make up the family of college football are an incredible group of people. And for years, I got to be behind the scenes with them. To see how the stadium looks completely empty and walk on the hollowed ground of the field. Because I’ve helped paint a logo on a field. Stood next to Bevo, because I know how hard they work, how gracious they are…. college football isn’t just a game to me, its about family.
So, this Saturday, whomever you root for, savor it. Cherish each moment, each down. Because next week will be different, next year will be different, but you’ll always be true to the team. You Sooners, You Aggies, You Ducks and Gators… You Tigers and Wolf Packs and Trojans and Irish…and you gorgeous Longhorns.