Column: Return of the game is not a moment too soon
by Will Heath
Jul 28, 2011 | 1219 views |  0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Here’s why the return of SEC football Media Days should mean something to us: It means football is very nearly back. And not a moment too soon.

Believe it or not, football season — actual football season, when games are taking place — comprises only a small portion of a calendar year. Games are only from September until December, and a few of us attempt to pay half-hearted attention to the NFL until February. After that, there’s nothing but interminable talk until the next September.

This offseason has been particularly interminable. It would’ve been bad enough, with the constant NCAA investigations and scandals clouding everything, then the reprehensible vandalism that occurred at Toomer’s Corner.

Of course, all that turned out to be a prelude for people around here. What happened April 27, both in St. Clair County and all across Alabama quite literally changed the landscape — suddenly recruiting and NCAA investigations and a pair of historic trees didn’t seem to matter all that much.

Even as we’re still recovering, though, it’s good to know we’ll have football back in our lives soon.

Football fans have a peculiar relationship with their teams. We call the players by their first names, gripe about the head coach’s appearance, fret about their mental state, that kind of thing. We do this in spite of the fact that many of our heroes objectively do not care about us; they show up to do a job, and when it’s over, they’ll move on to a different place.

None of that matters to us. Our teams and our players are part of our extended family.

And theirs will be a great responsibility once September arrives. No amount of successes on a football field will heal the wounds left gaping open, but for a few hours, at least we can immerse ourselves in something familiar; for a lot of us, it might be the first thing that’s made us feel good since April.

We need to smell the smoke, hear the music and scream at the top of our lungs again. We need to lose our minds over an official’s call. We need to boo loudly for the visitors.

We just need a little football back in our lives.

It won’t rebuild anyone’s house or make the devastation any less devastating. But it’s a part of rebuilding the psyche of our region.

Not a moment too soon.

Contact Will Heath at wheath@thestclairtimes.com.

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