It seems almost unreal. Somehow, between summer storms and searing heatwaves, football season has snuck up on us. I’ve written before about what I like to call ‘football weather;’ that first chill that creeps into the morning air, the harbinger of shorter days and longer sleeves. Summer carries less weight now than it did when I was in school, of course; I no longer count the days until I have to return to the classroom—now it’s only a matter of hours before I sit back down at my desk. Still, even without me counting the days, July has come and gone. In between the shimmering air above the blacktop and the distant shrieks of kids enjoying their freedom in the form of splash fights and cannonballs, a page dropped off the calendar. We can now count weeks rather than months until this year’s version of the Tar Heels takes the field, the Tar Heel Blog’s best are writing position previews, and it’s all so exciting.
It’s still almost too hot to feel anything but tired, and yet the prospect of the upcoming college football season still stirs what melted pockets of joy remain hidden among the near-constant Zoom meetings and immediately-sweaty trips outside with the dog that make up my day-to-day. As I mentioned above, I no longer note the passing of the summer months religiously as I used to in school, but that also means that the weeks tend to pass even more quickly than they did back then. One more blur of project work and presentations and internal calls that could be emails, one more span of days running together to form a kind of all-natural mental montage of adult life, and it’ll be football season.
There are questions to be answered, sure. The aforementioned position previews are looking forward to the season in a different way, casting a wary eye over the familiar faces as well as the newcomers, seeing if there’s anything there to suggest the way the chips may fall. Pundits and predictors are not nearly as bullish on the prospects of this year’s Carolina team, but that’s not unexpected. Recognition will have to be earned this year, and perhaps the most exciting thing underpinning all of this talking about the coming season is the hope. Anything can happen in the months leading up to the season; the sky seems to be the limit, even if there are summer storm clouds blowing in more quickly than you would expect. One could talk themselves into anything, from something as simple as revenge for the 2019 game against App State, to a chance to play for a conference title in Charlotte to round out the year.
Those possibilities are what make the ramping up to the season so much fun, and only a few weeks stand between us and getting to watch the first pieces of the 2022 season fall into place. Today, as every day, is a good day to be a Tar Heel.