Finally…football season is just about upon us

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 4, 2005

Know what they should sell? Football Season Advent Calendars. They could start in mid-July and every day you would eat a piece of chocolate shaped like a helmet, a pair of cleats, a megaphone, or Bill Cowher’s remarkable jawline. On the morning of the first game of the season, you could rip open the last door, yell “Whoa Nelly!” and get to eat the Bear’s hat or Bo’s Heisman, depending on whether you bleed crimson or navy.

I’m telling you, we’d make a fortune. If football season arrived any slower, you’d think we’d have ordered it off the Internet. It’s not that the sports played in the interim aren’t just as exciting–I’m paid to love all sports equally (thank God DHS doesn’t have a synchronized swimming team)–it’s that football lasts such a short time. Basketball wraps itself around either side of the Christmas break; between high school and Dixie Youth, baseball runs very nearly from February to August. And that’s not even including the Neverending Stories of either of those sports’ professional leagues.

On the other hand, every football game above Pop Warner that counts, on any level, will be played in a five-month window between late August and late January. No time on the calendar moves any faster, it seems, than those three months between the season-opener in the heat of August and the last gasps for most teams around Thanksgiving.

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Which means that it’s getting harder and harder to eat just that one piece of chocolate a day, especially now that there’s pads on and yard-lines marked and the clash of helmets echoing across the way. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that most sports fans, especially in this state, wouldn’t trade that first tweet of a coach’s whistle for all the strings of white lights, holly wreaths, and badly animated television specials December has to offer.

Of course, the sounds and sights of practice aren’t the only ways to tell that football season is just about here. Here’s a list of some of my seasonal favorites:

* Fantasy football magazines appearing in the drug store’s magazine rack

* Commentators saying Minnesota could be a “sleeper” in the Big Ten

* Men in their forties-at-least parked in groups outside the practice fence

* The melodious sound of Phillip Fulmer’s whining. Oh, wait, did I say “melodious sound”? I meant, “sound like of a pack of accordion-playing-mosquitoes.”

* The phrase “if Cryole can stay healthy…”

And around here, there’s the sight of some bearded guy in khaki shorts and in need of a haircut walking around the edges of practice, taking pictures. If you see him, you should know he’ll be working on the Demopolis Times’ 2005 Football Preview. He’s working hard, ’cause he wants to put together the flat-out best preview issue the paper’s ever produced. It hits newsstands August 17 and it is going to be loaded–he’ll give you his word, if you ask.

After all, football season will be over before we know it. Better make the most of it.