I’m not sure there is really any stronger anticipation than the grueling month of waiting a college football fan goes through before the season kicks off. It’s like that drive home from picking up the family’s pizza on Friday night when you are starving and there are piping-hot pizza’s smelling up your car — except in this case, the drive lasts an entire month.
Pro football fans don’t really go through the same thing. The NFL has its pre-season games, which seem to start after like one week of practices. The hardcore NFL fans at least get to reach into the box and eat a slice. Even though they are having to fumble with the box to open it, get the slice out, then close the thing to keep the heat in, all with one hand while driving with the other. Still they get to eat something.
The college fan only gets stories of how the freshmen are looking. How some guys are stepping up and showing promise. There is so much turnover in college. In the NFL, you’ve had several years to see most of these guys play either on your team, or on another team. So you kind of know what to expect, save for the guys your team drafted.
The college teams are filled with 18 to 22 year-olds. We have absolutely no idea what we are going to get from one kid this year as opposed to last year. They change so fast and so much. So all we get to do is smell the pepperoni, the cheese and the sauce, but we can’t touch it until we get home. I try as hard as I can this month to think about anything but college football.
And I have many distractions these days. One big distraction is my 5th grade Roswell Hornet football team. My son Charlie absolutely loves football. He was asked in Sunday school to draw a picture of Jesus when he was 3 years old. The picture had Jesus wearing a Georgia Bulldog ‘G’ on his chest holding a football. When my wife saw that, she knew there was no keeping him away from football.
I’ve been head coaching his tackle football team for the last two years. This year, I’m still head coaching. In reality, I have four highly qualified assistants —two of whom played in college. And they are taking much of the burden. But just because these are 5th graders, don’t think for a second that we don’t text each other multiple times a day about strategies with different players.
Football is such a unique game. There is no other game that I know of where you have such a variation in the type of athlete who is on the field. The skill-sets are so incredibly different from one position to another. In most cases, there is no way an offensive lineman could be the wide-receiver and visa-versa. It’s kind of a more real representation of work-life. Everyone is important to the team.
I had a parent e-mail me after their son’s first year playing tackle football on our team. He is a big boy and she said he never was able to feel like an athlete until he played football. In every other sport, he struggled. But in football, he’s a stud. She said it’s done wonders for his confidence, not just in sports, but in every facet of his life.
Football is such a complex sport in relation to many others. You have 11 guys, each with a specific and important responsibility. They get into a huddle, call a play, and then line up against 11 other players to try to move a ball 10 yards. To execute it, everyone has to do their jobs. Just one breakdown and the entire play breaks down.
Maybe that’s what helps make football so exciting. The continuous anticipation of each play, over and over again.
No need to break it down too much. My wife is an art teacher, so we look at paintings a lot. I told her that if someone has to explain to me why a painting is good, then probably to me, it isn’t good. If I want to sit and stare at it, then to me, it is. For now, a lot of us are staring at college football.
And we’ve only got a couple more weeks before we get to dive in and devour way too many slices of pizza.
Geoff Smith is a mortgage banker with Assurance Financial focusing on residential home loans for refinances and home purchases.
*The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of Assurance Financial Group