If you try to tell me that it’s summer because your mailbox has melted over, your utilities bill is sky high and that you can fry your morning breakfast on the hood of your car, I still won’t believe you. To these football fan’s ears, it will in all likelihood sound like Charlie Brown’s parents nagging him about doing his homework.
The calendar still says July, but believe me when I say that fall is already upon us.
The heat index may flirt with 100 degrees this upcoming Monday morning, but the early hours of July 30th will see the football Fighting Scots suit up for their first practice not including mini camp. Later that same afternoon, the ninth grade, JV and varsity volleyball and boy’s soccer teams will be holding their respective tryouts as well. And July 30th also marks the first day that Scotland County Parks and Recreation will open registration for youth football, cheerleading and soccer.
Can you feel it?
I may be wiping sweat from my forehead inside a McDonald’s as I currently write this column, but that doesn’t remove the fall sports-related messages that are currently flooding my Facebook and email accounts. All of the messages more or less read the same: “Jason, you gonna be joining fantasy football this year?” As if they already don’t know the answer to that question. After all, I’ve been in the same league with the same group of friends for nearly a decade, and have been playing fantasy football for years before that. And let’s not forget that, as a Gamecock alumni, football season never really ends in the midlands despite the baseball program nipping at its heels in popularity.
Friends, family and colleagues never let me forget it, so to answer my own question: Yes, I certainly do feel it.
People say that the June summer solstice is the day that summer officially begins, but I tend to disagree. For those who anxiously await the return of football, the summer is jump-started the minute their favorite team’s season ends. Whether as 4-A state champions, or in my case, a Captial One bowl game victory over the University of Nebraska. I won’t discuss the New York Jets 8-8 season, so please don’t ask me.
But here we are with the Fighting Scots football, volleyball, soccer and cross country seasons right around the corner, with NFL training camps preparing to heat up, with preseason trash talk being rehearsed in fall sports fan’s mirrors across the country. And all of this is happening without a single leaf falling from a tree, or a stiff breeze hitting you in the face as you step outside for the first time in the morning.
I may not be a weatherman, but I don’t need an overly-cheery face on cable TV to tell me that fall is here. Good thing too, because I still don’t have cable, which is one thing I’ll be forced to address if I want to watch my Gamecocks and, of course, watch Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow fight over the Jets’ starting QB position.
With all of this being said, expect a barrage of team previews, individual player spotlights, and full feature stories on all of the local fall sports programs that will be hitting full stride before you know it. Because chances are I’m just as excited as you are about what’s to come.
So I ask again: Can you feel it?