Same Time, Next Year

by Rich on January 15, 2018

The college football season has come to and end. A moment of silence, please.

Ok…, sorry. I know almost everyone has mentally shifted gears to other sports, but many of us are in a period of mourning. It won’t last long. NFL playoffs are going strong, The Big Game is right around the corner, college basketball is hitting it’s stride…there’s plenty to keep us occupied in the world of sports. But today, I want to just push “pause” for a moment and contemplate how great this past college football season was.

Every season is special for someone. And most seasons are at least good for the casual fan. But for some reason, this season seemed to offer more. And as I thought about this the other day, it occurred to me that, personally, I have experienced many similar seasons. I’ve also lived through plenty mediocre seasons that did little to engage my attention, and a more than a few that I had to merely survive because they were so terrible. The latter are pretty rare, overall, but man, when they hit, they hit hard. And the aftertaste sticks around for a while.

But this year was great. And I don’t mean it was great because the team I root for won the national championship (it didn’t). I mean it was great because, for some reason, so many of the personal stories of players, coaches and teams resonated with me. I won’t go into a list of the big stories that pulled me in because if you share my feelings on this, our lists would probably be vastly different, with maybe a few crossovers.

And that’s what makes college football so great. The stories. The crazy games that start at 9 pm on a Thursday, between 2 teams you know nothing about, and all of a sudden you can’t turn away and twitter is blowing up and your heart is in your throat and you’re on the edge of your couch screaming at the TV and your wife is wondering what kind of particular insanity she is witnessing and will it infect the kids?

It’s the stories. They resonate. Because these aren’t professionals making a gazillion dollars. They are kids. Young adults. And they are playing their guts out. They are experiencing things on a level most of cannot comprehend. They have overcome personal obstacles. The teams have coalesced into a brotherhood to beat overwhelming odds. The coaches have defied the odds and proven their worth even as their seat seems to be an active volcano.

Every year has these stories. Some years they seem to be more prominent than others, but they all have them. So why do some seasons seem to be so much more engaging than others? The older I get, the more I realize that it has more to do with me than with what actually happens during those four months in the fall. Coming to that realization is sobering, but also, in some bizarre way, comforting. Because I am learning that, while I don’t control what happens on the field during any given season, I do have some control over my outlook on life, and thus, my appreciation for said season. It’s like the man said…most people in life are about as happy as they decide to be.

So the college football season is over and I have decided that it was fantastic. Spoiler alert: I’ve already made the decision that next year will be epic too.

Plan accordingly.

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