Trading rawhide for pigskin

Aug. 11, 2013 @ 05:31 AM

Many people say that even the worst football game is better than the best baseball game. Now I’m not one of those people, but the arrival of football certainly invokes a level of excitement within me.

As my friend Jacob Conley illustrated in his column this past Thursday, six months of baseball can take its toll. Going from high school, to Legion, to Owls and then Little League is taxing. They play multiple times a week and for a while you forget that wearing pants during a summer sport seems somewhat silly.

Then August rolls around. Football players report to school practices on the first day of the month. They get jersey’s and pads. Coaches remind the team about how last season finished and their expectations for the upcoming season. And best of all for me, I get to see helmets with facemasks.

It’s always nice to shift gears and for a sports editor every season starts a new routine. I’ve been through the summer that I feared would be slow and uneventful making my job that much more difficult. Instead I was bombarded with more events than I had time to wrap my head around. Now I’m back on the high school grind.

I had a ball covering the great American pastime this summer, especially following the local All-Stars that made their way to California, but it’s time to put down the bats and move the mitts into storage for a few months for what is threatening to become the new American pastime.

The whole country is enthralled with the start of football. Whether it be college conference media days, training camps or high school practices, we all have something that grabs our attention.

I read daily stories regarding Panthers training camp and now I’m making my rounds to the local high schools to see what they have in store for me this season. And needless to say, I’m itching to get started.

Football to a sports fan is such a treat because unlike baseball or basketball, they only play once a week. You have six days to digest the last game and prepare yourself for the next battle on the gridiron. I anticipate the next Friday’s kickoff the moment the final whistle bows on the current game. I can’t help it, there’s just something different about football.

This isn’t to say that I don’t anticipate the start of any other sport, because I do. Baseball season captivates me for the first couple months of the season and even one of my new favorite sports to cover, volleyball, probably brings the most excitement out of me during a match. But football is just different.

It’ hard to put a finger on just what it is that sets football apart. Maybe it’s the contact. Maybe it’s the battle aspect of the game. Maybe it’s the attitude surrounding practices. Maybe it’s the position battles. Or maybe it’s the atmosphere it invokes within the community.

Baseball parents love baseball, basketball parents love basketball, but everyone loves football. Everyone makes their way to the local stadiums on Friday night. Don’t believe me? Wait until the county invades The Palace at R-S Central for the Rutherford County Jamboree on Thursday night and then get back to me.

We’re less than two weeks from the start of the regular season, and yes, I’m counting down the days.

Baseball, it’s been fun. We had a good run and I’ll never forget the memories we made this summer. But I think it’s time we take a break ... I’ve found someone else. Her name is Football. Hopefully you’ll take me back in six months.