Thursday, September 01, 2011

Sinking into sweet uncertainty

On January 8 (or thereabouts) of every year, I watch some team celebrate and then think to myself "WTF am I gonna do for the next eight months?" It's depressing; for Hunter S. Thompson, it was too depressing.

I've never been very good at writing flowery, elegant prose. I don't have the attention span or the ability to connect that many thoughts. So this is where I steal from the most perfect summation of college football fandom that's ever been written, a piece that should be required reading before kickoff every season.

Courtesy of the always-brilliant Spencer Hall at EDSBS:
I don't have a clue what will happen with John Brantley, or the Florida defense, or to Alabama, or Georgia, or Michigan, or USC, or Western Kentucky, or any other team. There are depth charts, and rosters, and points spreads and buses and planes headed to various points to play on various fields. Everything but those is filling the space between diversions staged to liven up the otherwise dull expanse of a working week.

I do know, however, that like everything else this experience, this randomness we do each fall means so much more to me now than it did before. It is not enough to admit that your seriousness becomes that much more serious when you reproduce. Your arbitrary passions, your silliness, your distractions become that much more intense now, if only because you understand how limited a resource they are. The whistle blows. The conferences order themselves. Then you will face the winter again, holding the note and understanding the urge to write those words on a sheet of paper: "Football season is over."
It's relieving to be reminded that I'm not the only person with what might be considered an emotionally unhealthy attachment to college football. Michigan winning in dramatic fashion makes me happy; Michigan losing in painful fashion makes me sad and/or angry; Brock Mealer touching the banner makes me emotional. Somebody who doesn't pay attention to college football wouldn't be able to understand any of these things, and I wouldn't be able to explain them. But to me, those moments are so, so sweet, both in their scarcity and their meaning.

When I wake up on a Saturday morning in the fall, my stomach is upset and my body is twitchy. Is that unhealthy? I don't care. The anticipation is overwhelming -- anything could happen, and all of it will be amazing.
Yeah, stumble til you crawl (Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, ohhh),
Sinking into sweet uncertainty.
Sweet uncertainty indeed.


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