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Hope springs eternal

Let the countdown begin. Local teams donned pads for the first time this week. That means that everyone can officially begin to size up their favorite team’s chances at making a run toward statewide glory.

In Sweet Water, the Bulldogs hold their perennial slot atop the Class 1A polls. Just a little further up U.S. Highway 43, Linden holds down the No. 8 spot in the 1A preseason poll. And here in Demopolis, the Tigers begin the season as the No. 5 team.

But all of that is predominantly meaningless prognostication and idle chatter to fill the void until teams begin to hit players in different color jerseys.

But fear not football fans, the time is drawing near. Demopolis and Central-Tuscaloosa will descend upon Linden 13 days from today for their Jamboree games while Sweet Water and Maplesville will visit Brantley and A.L. Johnson and Marengo will head over to Wilcox Central.

And 12 days from now, Marengo Academy will officially kick off its season when it welcomes preseason No. 6 Patrician Academy to Linden.

Still, as much as fans everywhere are anxious for the games to be played, these next two weeks should not at all be discounted. There is an undeniable magic this time of year.

The commonly used phrase to describe it is “Hope springs eternal.” And, for the most part, over the next two weeks it will. For the next two weeks, every player that suits up for practice is doing so with the notion that his team could catch lightning in a bottle. Every coach that spends hours laboring over films and dry erase boards and exhausted athletes does so with the notion that the season has purpose, the – however improbable – greatness is still possible.

For the next two weeks, every deficiency is minimized, every potential is exponentially compounded and every fan can be infinitely optimistic if he so chooses.

It is August and, right now, everybody is No. 1 or no one is. That is why coaches and players in Demopolis, Sweet Water and Linden neglect to place any stock in their preseason rankings. In the end, it is somebody else’s best guess on who will prove to be the toughest team by season’s end.

So sit back and enjoy the next two weeks of unflappable optimism and the eternally flowing springs of hope. Let the countdown begin to the start of high school football 2009 and to the end of some teams’ positive outlook on the season that will be.