Every year, it starts about late May, first with a whisper, a singular Facebook status update, a Tweet, as passing small talk reference by that coworker who insists on talking to me while I pee in the work bathroom. Only 100 days away!
At first it's easy to ignore; after all, I've got the whole summer ahead of me. There's Memorial Day and the month of June, which I'll spend going to people's weddings and putting off doing summery things until I have a weekend to sit home and rest, and then the Fourth of July, when I drink beer and watch other people blow shit up and then have a moment of ennui followed by panic that summer's winding down and I haven't done anything except wear tasteful semi-formal dresses and scrape the frosting off the top of cake while a jazz ensemble plays "The Way You Look Tonight."
The whispers grow louder as summer marches onward- 50 days!- and I keep telling myself that I'm going to do something beachy or go camping or go to a free movie in the park one of these evenings, and suddenly it's the middle of July, and my friendly nightly baseball roundup is interrupted by a desk of comically large ex football players-cum- announcers looking awkward in custom made suits and loud ties going on and on about college football media days. Oh my god. College football season is just around the corner? Impossible! I haven't even yet begun to enjoy summer yet!
For a few weeks after that jolt of reality, I remain in blissful denial over the fact that summer's slipping away and I haven't taken advantage of it the way I swore I would. And suddenly special college football issues of sports magazines spring up on newsstands like a sudden case of hives, and suddenly no one in my office can talk about anything but the Buckeyes, Badgers, Gators, Ducks, or Fightin' Irish. "Your team sucks!" "No it doesn't, your team does!" The top 25 teams have already been ranked. The college football speculation machine hums to life. And this is when I realize that I've spent an entire summer around at least one asshole who won't shut up for one goddamn second about college football.
I understand why we count down to, say, baseball season. Baseball happens during the spring, and its return marks the end of the Midwestern winters I've endured on 26 different occasions. It signifies the beginning of drinking outside season, the banishing of the oppression of pants. Football, however, is another animal. I understand that it's fun to watch games and that tailgating is awesome and everyone likes winning, but oval shaped Christ through the uprights, keep the excitement for the end of precious warm season under your hat. I beg of you, stop reminding me that football season, and by extension, fall, is just around the corner. Wait until at least mid-August. Let me have my willful ignorance of the turning of the seasons.
When you're in the northern half of the country, spending a summer going on and on about college football is like spending the entirety of a relationship reminding your partner that one day they're going to die and leave you a bunch of insurance money. Or pausing during the middle of a delicious spicy meal and reminding everyone that it's going to feel weird to poop it out. Can't we just enjoy the summer while it's happening? I enjoy a good kickoff return as much as the next person raised on Big Ten football, but must we be ever-hyped for summer to end?
Furthermore, football season is never really what it's cracked up to be. Don't you remember last football season? That team you like made you feel really crappy a bunch of times. That player you really like didn't play as well as you wanted him to play! You lost a game to that team with fans that make you angry! Why are you so excited to be sad and let down? Remember when you went to that game and you lost feeling in your fingers and then got caught in a traffic jam for two hours as you tried to drive out of town with everyone else? Remember how all of the students at your alma mater now look like they're about 12 years old?
Or maybe now's the time for me to let go of summer, accept that back sweat isn't all that awesome, and break out my officially licensed college sports team memorabilia so that I at least blend in with all the eager enthusiasts who have been clamoring for this since before Memorial Day.
Image via David Lee/Shutterstock