By Graham Glover –
Repent! Repent, you Major League baseball fans! Repent, you World Cup aficionados! Repent and become righteous with the greatest sport of the year!
Your time is short – less than a month to go. Listen to my warning…you need to take the coming sports rapture seriously.
For those of us who are already righteous, the long wait will thankfully be over on 28 August. The tortuous summer months of mundane sporting events will finally come to an end, ushering in a new season of sports bliss, and with it, pure joy.
Can I get a witness? How about an “Amen!”? A “Hallelujah!”? My friends, rejoice with me, for college football cometh! Our sports salvation is at hand! Rejoice…I say it again…rejoice!
Yes, college football is just around the corner, and with it, millions of Americans eager to cheer on their alma maters, participating in game-day rituals that characterize so much of our nation’s persona. There really is nothing that compares to college football. And it can’t get here soon enough.
In just a few short weeks, millions of fans will flock to college towns all around the country, some just for the day – others for the entire weekend. These pilgrimages will take place from the end of August until a national champion is crowned in early January. Each week, stadiums will hold over 100,000 souls for hours on end rooting for their favorite college team. Millions more will watch these games at home or in local bars/pubs, along with the pre and post-game festivities that surround them. Just thinking about college football brings a smile to my face. When the first game week arrives…happiness awaits. And I’m not alone. There are millions upon millions like me.
For the non-believers out there, I commend to you college football in the south, specifically, college football in the Southeastern Conference. Among these 12 schools, you will witness college football at its finest. In these towns, college football consumes people of every age, ethnic background, and socio-economic status. It unites communities and states like nothing else. The tailgates begin on Thursday evening and continue into the early hours of Sunday morning. Among these gatherings are thousands of your best friends, where food and beverage flows in abundance. Even if you root for the wrong team you are welcome to partake. Pre-game college football atmospheres in the SEC are electric. I’ve never seen anything that compares.
In the south, college football just isn’t another sport – it is THE sport. It is what unites the many facets of the university and the diverse makeup of its population. When the team wins, it’s as though everyone won the lottery. When they lose…well, the sermon might be a little more doom and gloom that Sunday!
Although a multi-billion dollar machine, college football is not consumed with money. It is the finest amateur sporting event around. People are loyal to their university for a lifetime and committed to their team even in the darkest of times. (Trust me, after a 4-8 season last year…I know the depths of college football hell.) It’s more about the team than the almighty dollar. Your team, especially in the SEC, means everything.
Yours truly will be venturing south to the sacred city of Gainesville, FL Labor Day weekend to see my alma mater take on Idaho. Although I don’t expect the Vandals to hang with the Gators, my 7-year old son is ready to go today. I’ll make the trek north in October to Knoxville, TN for a matchup with our long-time rival, the Vols. Then another journey south sometime later that month for a marquee matchup in my Saturday place of worship, The Swamp. If I could, I’d go to every game. And I’m not alone. There are millions like me. Millions who are obsessed – consumes – and completely captivated by the season that awaits.
College football is at hand! Salvation is near!