For years, my friend Keith has said, “When July 4th comes around, summer is over.” I always laughed at that, because when we were kids, the 4th of July marked the beginning of summer! But alas, now he’s right, as seasons have expanded, once the holiday is finished, it seems all eyes turn to football.
In the south anyway.
High School football, college football, pro football: they all grab fans attention in the heat of the summer. Magazines, meetings television networks, they all focus on football. Of course the old joke is there are two seasons in Florida (and Texas): Football season, and spring football season.
This year has been a little quieter across the board. The NFL lockout has kept the league and pro football in the news, but not in the way fans want to hear about it. Coverage of the legal proceedings has created excitement about the smallest thing, giving hope even when there was none. Of course, ESPN has always painted the best face on the movement because they have skin in the game. They need the NFL to play so you always have to watch their coverage with that in mind. If the league is playing games, ESPN is making money.
Florida fans haven’t be quite as vociferous as in the past. A new coach and not a single player on the pre-season All SEC first team has Gator fans wondering how their team will fare in 2011. A trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship game has been penciled in as part of the season for Florida fans for quite a while. This year there’s a lot of grumbling. Not quite the “Wait ’till next year!” cry of a quarter century ago, but certainly not the swagger they’ve carried through three National Championships in the last 15 years.
Georgia is supposed to be good, but then again, they were better than Florida last year but couldn’t beat the Gators in the annual dust up here when it counted. All predictions have Florida State returning to the national stage as a player when it comes to who’s going to win the title but with a new quarterback, who knows?
And that’s what makes it fun.
Even if it’s summer!