As I sit here at 11:40PM, the first day of college football has come to a close... and I really haven't felt the same feelings that would normally come with this time of year. I'm from the South and as such, the first Saturday of college football is like Christmas wrapped in Thanksgiving dipped in Halloween with a sprinkle of Valentines Day. The first Saturday of college football is a gift, indulgence, love, and regret all together... it's like taking the best holidays of the year, cramming them all in one day, and then feeling the after effects of all that indulgence once the euphoria wears off.
In a 24 hour period, college football fans fly between extremes first class and by Sunday are nursing a hangover from how well their team did, how poorly it did, or how awesome the day went... or are doing all three at once. It's a crazy, maniac driven period of the year.
And this year... well, it wasn't quite that for me. In fact, it was quite an effort to work up any enthusiasm for college football today. I'll admit it, I've lost my fire for it. The heady days where I could care about even the most meaningless games, just because they were football games, are gone. It's over.
It's like losing a friend and I feel as though I need to give my old friend and you good folks a proper explanation. College football, we had a lot of good years... but that time has passed. Why? It's not you. Honestly, it isn't; as far as you go, as far as your game goes, it's still just as fun as ever, still just as exciting as ever... the game is just as unpredictable as ever.
It's me. I've changed. It's not your fault, it's mine and for that I'm sorry old friend.
Why has this changed occurred? Let me tell you why. It started last year on the first Saturday of college football. I celebrated like every college football fan does; I sat in front of the TV, I watched plenty of meaningless games, I educated everyone in the household on the many intricacies of football... I stayed up late watching games between Hawaii and some no name team... it was a glorious football type of day.
But events were set in motion that day... well, that night actually. In a rare moment of college football loosening it's grasp on me, I got into a pretty deep conversation with a friend of mine... we talked and talked and talked... and by the end of it I was much more invested in that conversation and all that was said in it than anything on the TV.
That day... that weekend in general really... it showed me just how much I was missing because of football. I, and others, devoted many hours of their Saturday to that game and for what? Moments of awe and enjoyment that are better captured in two minutes Sportscenter highlights than three hour games?
I was missing out on life. College football was just a vehicle for me to live vicariously through people that could do all kinds of things I couldn't... I was the classic college football fan, using the games as an excuse to eat and drink what I wanted, to celebrate the college football experience.
No, college football; I couldn't do that anymore after last year. My love for you lessened steadily as the year went on and by the time bowl season arrived, I knew we were likely to break up... that the end was near. I was hoping the offseason might re-energize me but it has only showed me that I've moved on.
Today was a different kind of Saturday. It wasn't one where I woke up, sniffed the air, and immediately found a pregame show to wet my appetite. This morning I woke up, found a chair, sat in it, and tried to piece together what happened the night before.
I did drink most of a bottle of white wine Friday night and I was pretty drunk, much to the amusement of certain individuals. That's an entirely different subject though, but the point is that I was more interested in doing that than watching a pregame show.
When the games started today... well, I didn't really tune in. There was only one game I wanted to watch and that was the Florida game. That didn't come on till 3:30PM. I had to kill a few hours.
I didn't want to watch other football games though... and the house needed groceries. So, I took the boys I'm nanny to, loaded them up in the car, and we went shopping.
Now, all you parents/older siblings know, kids in a grocery store is pretty much a recipe for getting nothing done... in the past, I would agree with this. Not today. We went to the stores we needed to and we got things done. In a little less than two hours we stocked up on food that should last us at least a week and we had fun doing it.
Shopping with kids>College football. Who would have thought that? Not me. Not last year certainly. But I find, with the boys back in school, I miss them and so I'll gladly spend time with them doing things they are naturally built to sabotage (like shopping) and enjoying that. They're a silly bunch, but what kids aren't?
Anyways, I've come to value Saturday far more for what it is, in principle, than what it represents to most. To most, Saturday's in college football season are reserved for football alone. For me... I find that they should be used as intended, as days for everyone to see one another again and reconnect a little.
Saturday's should be like mini-summers. A 24 hour period where people spend the day doing things together and inevitably getting on one another's nerves. That was today and that represents a different kind of Saturday for me.
Rather than have it be blatantly unproductive because of the time suck that is college football, I got things done today. Did lots of shopping, did lots of fun things with the boys, did some cleaning, did some folding of laundry, and didn't screw things up on a massive scale (always a bonus). These types of days happen every weekend. It's called Saturday.
I want to use these days as they are meant to be used; not to be dominated by college football but to be used in pursuit of bettering the relationships between people. Saturday's should be about taking the bonds you have and strengthening them because during the week, when everyone is running around on schedules and time tables, those bonds begin to fray. You need to work on them. You need to show them a little love and Saturday is that day for it.
So, college football, I've changed... I'm sorry. I can't enjoy you like I used to. I can't get excited for you like I used to. I'm going to reflect fondly on all those good years... on all the good memories... but I want to devote the Saturday's I have left in life to something more than watching a game on TV.
A friend of mine today asked "Why is life so short?" and my only reply was "In comparison to what?"
Our lives, as far as other things on this planet are concerned, are quite long. The problem is that we build in so many time sucks into our existence that the days, weeks, months, and years fly by... we don't take the time to value the mundane, every day things, like we should. Those mundane things won't be there forever. They will change.
It's been a different kind of Saturday. It's been productive and fun. I hope that these Saturday's continue in the future.
I just know that my obsession with college football on Saturday's won't be part of my future. The fire has been lost.
Addition by subtraction in my mind.