It has been eight months since I stumbled out of the Superdome and onto those enticing streets of New Orleans in my Julio Jones jersey--naive, distraught, and in search of guidance.
Eight months of work, sleep, golf, sleep, fantasy baseball, sleep.
Eight months. Almost as long as the human gestation period and twice as painful.
But at last, it is here: the start of the college football season.
College football to me is the creme inside a Double Stuff basketball and baseball Oreo. It's like the part of Oprah where she tells you to look under your chair and find out what she's giving you for free. (I don't know what the rest of the show is for anyway.) It's the time in a Dexy's Midnight Runners concert when they sing "Come On Eileen." It's like fast money on Family Feud.
When I was little, I would sit through twenty minutes of face-off questions, bad guesses and Richard Dawson kissing people just for five minutes of pure unadulterated exhilaration. I used to wonder why there wasn't a show that was all fast money. They could call it Just Fast Money. Where have you gone, Mark Goodson?
Let me see if I can explain a bit better.
For eight months out of the year, I am mostly just coasting. Just kind of existing. Some days it's hard to tell if I'm even alive. Sure, I may take a couple of trips to the beach, play countless rounds of golf, and feign interest in socializing with others, but these are really just ways of passing the time until football season.
But for these next four months? I'm happy. I have a life. I'll hear from friends I rarely if ever hear from the other eight months of the year. Because that's what football does. It brings people together. And it gives me something to talk about with people with whom I evidently have nothing else in common.
Allow me to close with one last anecdote.
For me, college football is the roller coaster of the sports amusement park. Sure the ferris wheel, swings, and water rides are nice. But people don't drive a thousand miles to ride the swings. They drive a thousand miles to hop on Kingda Ka.
You scream, you cry, you try not to pee yourself.
That's college football in a nutshell.
"These people 'round here, with beaten down eyes sunken smoke dried faces so resigned to what their fate is. But not us, no never. No, not us, no never. We are far too young and clever..."