These are the dog days of summer. The sweat-just-walking-to-your-car days of summer. The local-reporter-frying-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk days of summer. These are the days of summer in which I start to turn my attention to the fall.
I long to feel the crisp cool air first thing in the morning. I can’t wait for the leaves to turn all colors of the palette. I am excited to eat and drink all things pumpkin.
Now don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of summers spent in Chapel Hill. I am a fan of the quieter walks to class in Carroll Hall or Woollen Gym. I enjoy the intramural softball battles on Hooker Fields, and sitting outside with a Blue Cup at He’s Not Here, while chatting with friends on one of the picnic tables.
However, these are the days when we know that football is right around the corner. When you stop watching Blue Dawn videos and start watching the players with their pads on. When you start dusting off your recipes and getting your tailgating supplies ready for Saturdays in Chapel Hill. When you know that instead of the endless debates on who is going to fill in at right guard, or who will be the back-up quarterback, you get to watch it play out on the field.
The ACC Kickoff was an opportunity for us football fans to wet our whistle. We heard from Fedora and some of the players about the expectations for the upcoming season. We saw that the media has high expectations for the Heels as well. We learned that football matters in Chapel Hill this fall.
Now take a step back and think about that for just a second. Just a few years ago, a lot of "wait till basketball" fans couldn’t wait to watch Roy and his team dance at "Late Night with Roy" and looked right past the football season. Now football matters. Saturdays against the Seminoles matter, Saturdays against the Hurricanes matter, and Saturdays against the Wolfpack matter.
I look forward to Elijah Hood running over defenders. I look forward to Des Lawrence interceptions. I look forward to Ryan Switzer punt returns. I look forward to Mitch Trubisky stepping into the role of starting quarterback. I look forward to the steady consistency of Nick Weiler. I look forward to Andre Smith wrecking havoc in the middle of the defense.
I look forward to hearing the chimes from the Bell Tower welcoming me home. I look forward to new additions to the "I’m a Tar Heel" montage. I look forward to raising my four fingers at the start of the 4th quarter, as the bells start to chime. I look forward to hearing "Touchdown Carolina". I look forward to celebrating victories with fellow Tar Heels, as "Hark the Sound" is played by the marching band.
I look forward to a defense proving all of the doubters wrong. I look forward to watching all of the speed and talent that is returning on offense. I look forward to seeing if any of the new Freshmen emerge as contributors. I look forward to seeing how this team responds to being the hunted instead of the hunter.
I look forward to gathering with old friends and alumni, and sharing stories from days gone by. I look forward to games of corn hole or tossing of the football, while talking of news from the past week. I look forward to the smell of brats and burgers from parking lot grills all around campus.
I look forward to football Saturdays in Chapel Hill. Only 49 days to go, but who’s counting.