Len Robbins

LEN ROBBINS

When I find myself spending an hour of my life watching something called “Dodgeball Thunderdome” on television, it means I’m having a severe jonesing for some sports action.

And now, I have football season to satiate that fix and offer a glorious distraction.

Why do I love football season? Let me count the ways:

1. There’s only one game a week.

If you’re addicted to baseball or basketball or that sport they play up north with sticks, you have three to six games a week to keep up with. That’s entirely too daunting. In football – pro, college, and high school – there is just one game a week for your team of choice. And if you follow all three, the games are scheduled on Friday (high school), Saturday (college) and Sunday (pro). Deviation from that schedule (i.e. Thursday night college football games) is heresy in my eyes.

2. College football tailgating.

Obviously, this has been adversely affected by the current COVID-19 pandemic, but if you’ve never been tailgating at an SEC football game, I’d recommend highly for your bucket list. It’s serious business. I know folks who go up to Athens for every Georgia home game – and not because they are huge college football fans. They don’t know Trevor Lawrence from Jennifer Lawrence, George Pickens from Boy George, or Kirby Smart from Kirby Puckett. They could care less. They go to tailgate and bask in the smells, sights, sounds, and smells that accompany this fine Southern tradition.

3. Bands.

A live horn section playing a school fighting song beats some piped-in music playing over a loud speaker any day. Pro football should be ashamed they don’t have team bands.

4. Football spawns emotion.

I don’t bat an eye when my shoes catch on fire, but for some reason, probably insanity, I’ll get all excited about a good football game.

5. Football is more reverent.

Thanking God is big in the post-game locker room, particularly with the winning team. Don’t know why, but that type of reverence seems more abundant and accepted in football than in any other sport.

Still waiting for the guy in the losing locker room to say “God made me fumble.” Haven’t heard that yet.

6. High school football in places that care about high school football.

Some areas – mostly urban or suburban – don’t care much for high school football. Folks don’t go to see the games. There’s no mamas selling school paraphernalia for the Booster Club. There’s no guy volunteering to cook hamburgers for the concession stand. There’s no PA announcer who bellows in a thick Southern drawl: “They’re going through our line like wat-ah through a sift-ah.”

There’s no community spirit.

Those places stink.

High school football, when done right, isn’t about one team against another. It’s about a community coming together and putting its political and racial and economic differences aside, and for three wonderful hours, being one community.

Try it this football season – with a mask on, please. If you look, you’ll see what I see.

LEN ROBBINS’ syndicated newspaper column appears in more than 20 newspapers in the South. He and his wife and three children live in Homerville, Georgia (population: 2,890), next to the Okefenokee Swamp.

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