Fall is my favorite season and football is my favorite sport (besides curling) but I'm not sure which came first -- my love for the season which means football is starting or my love for football which means fall is here. It's a question I'll have to ask God one day right after I find out which came first, the chicken or the egg.
In any case, the two go hand in hand. I love the crispness of the air when I walk out onto the balcony in the morning -- I love how I know I won't be sweating up a storm within ten minutes of stepping outside -- I love how the day starts out with minimum humidity so my hair has a chance at looking decent -- and I love how I look better in sweaters and jeans . . . and now, on this Saturday, I love how I will be with my family at Grove Stadium in Winson-Salem munching on seven-layer dip, spicy asian noodle salad, and some Bojangles chicken tenders before heading in to pull for the Demon Deacons against the Baylor Bears.
The reality of the arrival of the two really hit me when I went to the Panthers/Steelers game Thursday night here in Charlottesburgh (newly named considering how many Steelers fans were in attendance). It was the last exhibition game for the Panthers and I was excited to know that for the next dozen+ Sundays, I will be watching regular season football. Yes, the Panthers lost and yes, we left at halftime but there was still that excitement in the air when Sir Purr's flag emitted a fountain of sparks as the team ran out and it was evident as we made our way into the stadium through the tailgaters who were taking up too many spaces in the parking lot (side note, there should be some way to regulate that -- I almost hit a ten-year-old punk in a Roethlisberger jersey because his cornhole contraption was in my way).
I should acknowledge that my love for the sport may seem inconsistent considering I went to a school where our football team was a joke. That, however, did not keep me from going to every home football game, and some of the away ones as well, to cheer on these most-humble of athletes. I was a Wade Wacko more than I was a Cameron Crazie and I find a certain pride in that.
In any case, I heart football. And as the short-lived Panther fight song says, "Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina for a Panther/Wake/Duke football gaaaaaaaame!"