Football is upon us.

Along we go, out of the doldrums of the “dog days” period of late summer after basketball ends. When the only thing on television is baseball, a nigh-unwatchable shadow of the rock-concert it once was about fifteen years ago thanks to P.E.D. testing (meh.)So we pin all our hopes on the incoming football season.

Most casual observers like NFL teams but hardcores like me love college football. Camp opens up and news springs up every day. Little blurbs about who’s playing well, who’s looking nice (everybody’s “looking nice”, nobody has ever stunk up the joint according to any in-camp report) leak out on websites across the internets at intervals that made you wonder if Kris Jenner was behind them. For people who root for schools like Alabama, Oregon and Texas this provides a nice addendum to the news the Lee Corsos and Jesse Palmers of the world are able to provide coverage on the national stage. This news is everything a fan of University of West Alabama, my Alma Mater, it is a Division II school. The internet is all we have.

We have no Auburn foil to our Alabama hero, only North Alabama (bleh). While Texas Tech has Kliff Kingsbury, a young charismatic head coach who broke records there over a decade before he returned to coach his alma mater, we have Brett Gilliland, a young charismatic head coach who broke records at UWA over a decade before returning to coach his alma mater. Hell we even begin the season with a NCAA top 20 ranking.

The most important aspect of rooting for a D2 team, especially when I was in college was that I wasn’t rooting for some guys down on a field that were so far from me I might as well have been watching them on TV. They were my friends. I ate with them in the cafeteria, they were my suite mates in summer school, I took classes with them and formed study groups. I’d see them in my residence halls after every game and see the damage the game had inflicted on them up close and personal. They weren’t heroes or life-sized action figures to me. They were PEOPLE, and some of them were my friends. I doubt the average SEC fan looks at the impoverished minority sacrificing their health to entertain them that way. (I also doubt that many SEC football players take classes but that’s here nor there). We don’t only cheer touchdowns because our squad scored, we cheered become our dude got to do his dance in the endzone. It’s more than a game to us.

Sure while your team’s quarterback will probably end up holding a clipboard on Sunday’s mine will be a high school football coach in Dadeville, Alabama. But if you’re looking for future NFL players D2 Football might not be your thing. Watching guys I went on late night summer food runs with finally shine…..that was the reward to me,

 

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