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UNC Football: The Desert

A nearly-biblical stretch between now and the 2022 football season looms large.

Wofford v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Summer always used to go so much faster. When there was a school year waiting at the other end, there never seemed to be enough days in summer; now it’s quite the opposite. The middle of the state has been weathering heatwaves for the past month or so, and I’m honestly ready for the summer to be over. As a working adult (depending on who you ask), the days of summer blur together into hours spent at my desk, sticking to my day job, then sticking to the molten seats in my car if I do have to get out and drive anywhere. Even distractions are at an all-time low; the movie industry considers the late summer months to be ‘dump months,’ in which movies that aren’t expected to generate too much critical buzz or audience enthusiasm are released without much fanfare, and TV series typically call it quits even earlier with typical season wrapping up as winter begins to turn more green and temperate.

I’ve always thought of the offseason as a desert. My favorite sporting event in the world ends in early April, sure, but after that there are still things worth paying attention to. The College World Series, for example, is generally the most baseball of any level that I will consume in a given season, and that (along with a casual keeping-up with the Stanley Cup playoffs) can typically sustain me almost all the way through June, but after that’s over, there’s just... nothing. I hated it as a fan, spending each summer missing college athletics and the appointment viewing that they bring. I hate it more as a blogger, and I’m sure my editors feel the same after reading post after post, each one with a looser connection to the Tar Heels than the last.

There are currently, at time of publishing, 44 days and nights remaining between us and the first game on the Tar Heel football schedule. This yawning six-week span is barren for folks like me who don’t typically watch professional sports, a valley of scorched earth with nary a spot of shade through which we must crawl to get to the promised land of a Carolina football season and the blessed coolness of an approaching autumn.

The offseason is long and dry, with only recruiting news and reclassification rumors to sustain us, and even in the oppressive heat of a Chapel Hill summer it’s a good day to be a Tar Heel.