Practices have concluded, workouts are being attended and spring games have been played. Another spring has come and gone and all eyes are towards the summer.
Football fans are left in a daze, watching an endless slew of baseball games while counting down the days until the pigskin will fly through the air again. Despite our passion for the fall and the spirit football season brings, this is a time that shouldn’t be rushed.
Nothing beats being part of the Williams-Brice Stadium crowd in September. However, in all honesty, the time between now and kickoff comes in at a close second.
There’s simply something special about the offseason.
It’s the eternal optimism you feel. The dreams of the season to come and what it could be. Knowing your team is 0-0 and has just as good a chance as everyone else.
It’s going on vacation during the summer, seeing another donning your school colors and knowing in just a few months, they’ll become your best friend on a Saturday.
It’s riding by the stadium and having visions of 80,000 screaming fans filled to the brim of the upper deck.
The offseason is watching re-runs of your favorite games on ESPN and YouTube, reliving moments of seasons past, both good and bad, and wondering what a new year might bring. It’s trying to predict what player is set for a breakout year while hinging on every piece of news you hear over the spring and summer, hoping you don’t hear much at all.
It’s trash talk with your rivals. It’s trying to predict preseason rankings and overall records. It’s enjoying the “talking season” of player banter, promises of victories and coaches tales of players giving “championship effort!” in summer workouts.
It’s throwing the football with your friends and envisioning your team scoring the go-ahead touchdown late to win it all. It’s uniform threads and finding ways to kill time. It’s feeling like the season is never going to get here, then realizing fall practice is right around the corner. It’s media days and closely breaking down every word the coaches and players have to say.
Lastly, it’s great memories with those you love the most. The friendships made that will last a lifetime. It’s thinking about the bond football builds and how the sport brings us together as one. It’s looking ahead to what you’ve built and cherishing the people you’ll never forget.
So when you find yourself in the dog days of summer, having a cold beverage and counting down the days until football season finally arrives, take a moment and soak it all in.
Hope springs eternal in the offseason. There truly is nothing like it.