It’s often considered “the most wonderful time of the year.” To many people, even more wonderful than the ACTUAL “most wonderful time of the year” (the birth of Our Lord and Savior).
It’s the changing of the seasons. And, no. I’m not talking about the weather-related changes from the warmth and sun of the summer to the coolness and colors of the fall.
No, I’m talking about the changing of the sports seasons from baseball to football. Or, as most people understand it in my state, from “not football season” to “football, y’all.”
It’s hard not to love football when you’ve spent your entire life living in the greatest conference of the NCAA and having your entire society revolve around one of the greatest team rivalries in college football. Some might even argue that this is, in f act, the greatest state FOR college football (at least, in the past decade or so).
(NOTE: I’m not saying that it IS the greatest state for it, I’m saying that many in this state might argue such. So, anyone from Texas, Buckeyes, Californians, Sooners, and whoever else disagrees need not send me hate mail or comments touting your state’s glories. I know there’s lots of great college states out there.)
Anyways, I have to admit that, yes, i DO in fact love football season. Maybe it is because of the changing temperatures and getting to break out my jeans again. Maybe it’s the beat of a drum line on a Friday night, echoing across high school campuses. Maybe it’s the tailgating, wearing your team’s colors, and uniting with fans of the same team, even if you don’t know each other.
I’m not sure what it is, but there’s something about it.
But, there’s SOMETHING about it, too, that makes it the most important part of everyone’s schedules. More important than practically anything else that could possibly be happening in your life.
Planning a fall wedding? Better make sure it’s on your favorite team’s “bye” weekend and not on one of the Saturdays of a “big game” for your rivals.
Want teens (or anyone, really) to attend a retreat? Better not be homecoming weekend, high school or college, because that will definitely trump your event. Probably best just to wait until the spring.
And, Saturday night Mass? Well, depending on what time the two biggest teams in the state are playing, you’ll have a more orange crowd or a more crimson crowd. And, forget a crowd all together if either are playing at 2 pm or later.
I love football and the fun of this season, but it aggravates me to no end that when and if you are planning anything major you have to have the high schools of the area AND the two major college teams’ schedules sitting on the table with you…and, that you simply MUST plan around those games.
I don’t know when or why football games became the FIRST thing planned into a family’s weekend, even before Church or family events.
I don’t know when it became more important to be part of the “family” or to fill a seat in a stadium for a big game than to be part of the Church family and fill a seat at Mass.
I don’t know what drives us to give more praise to a football team and/or coach, raising them to near god-like levels, than we give to our ACTUAL God.
What I do know is that, yes, I do thoroughly enjoy football. And, that going to Mass on Sunday instead of Saturday night because of football games does not make you a “bad” Catholic. Or heading out to a game to cheer with all your might for your team to “win, win, win!” isn’t a sin.
But, I know, too, that I can walk away from football on a Friday night or a Saturday if there’s something more important that deserves my attention or that I really need more than football. I know that it’s always a better choice to miss the end of the game than arrive late to Mass so that I could watch it.
Thankfully, football season comes back every single fall. Teams have great seasons, teams have rebuilding seasons. There will always be an SEC game that I can get tickets to or a tailgate that I can visit. There will always be new players to see and old players retiring.
But, there won’t always be the opportunities to do things with my family or go on a retreat or be part of an event in my community. I may not be so lucky to have something as mundane as ttball being the most important thing happening in my life.
So, IMHO, I think it’s important that we work hard to enjoy our favorite season in moderation and with wisdom and not just let it take over our lives as if nothing else mattered or existed.
I’m just thankful I don’t live in an NFL state, too!