In the spirit of honesty, I started this quarantine era off with a breakup.
In the last few weeks, I have had the same feeling in the pit of my stomach when thinking about college football this fall.
It then occurred to me that there are similarities between a romantic breakup and where we are with college football at this moment. As someone who spends too many fall weeknights watching games, I feel qualified to speak on the subject of both break ups and college football.
With the cancellation of nonconference games, college football is basically telling us that the sport just needs some time to work on its self, away from us.
The release of the various college football watch lists used to be met with excitement and a hurried read. Now, like a text from a romantic partner who you are drifting away from, you scroll right past unfazed.
With every inevitable scheduling update, it feels like we are prolonging the ending, much like a relationship with endless fights or warning signs that things are changing. After so many little fights, it becomes merciful to end it.
This fall we will hear fight songs, which will remind us of that night where we shared in that song with thousands of others in celebration, much like you and an ex may have had a song which was your song that was linked to a special moment in your relationship.
Social media will do as social media does and that is remind us of what we did a year ago. A year ago you were with them (college football) and things were good. What you wouldn’t give to have that back this fall.
As you scan your closet, you find shirts which you purchased for the games and tailgates that now they sit in your closet. A sad reminder like that quarter zip your ex got you for when you meet her parents.
If we do get to see college football from the distance of our television, we will look for signs to see how the sport is doing. Do they miss us, and do they look happy? Surely, they can’t be better off without us than they were with us.
You promise that you will change. That you will wear your mask if it means saving our relationship with college football but deep down, you know that it is too late. It just won’t be the same as it was before.
Even if there is college football it will be without most of the fans, without a full season, without the pageantry of the marching band and without tailgating. College football, without these things, is like a relationship without intimacy, love and affection.
In the end, we are left to wonder where we went wrong.
We will see that this is not college football’s fault. The sport loved us and deep down still does but they just are not right for us in this moment. We were given chance after chance to get out ahead of COVID and to do our part before it was too late, much like a relationship where one does not put forth the effort until faced with its ending.
We can keep checking social media to keep tabs on them. Are they practicing? Who are they practicing with? But we know that it’s time to start looking for our rebound for those crisp fall Saturday’s or if you are a fan of the MAC, especially on those wind-blown weeknights.
We right swipe on the hope of a college basketball season, maybe go on some hikes or perhaps even get into an actual relationship with an actual person (perish the thought!) But deep down, college football will be that ex on the back of our minds, hoping that once they see that we have changed, that we will be reunited again.
Who knows? Maybe with a second chance next fall, we and college football will be better than ever before. But as with life in general, there’s no guarantees, so maybe we just need to focus on ourselves for a bit, and recall the good times until we’re ready to move on.