Spring has sprung friends. Flowers are blooming. The leaves are returning. The bees are buzzing around the yard. The grass is growing again which means I get to drag my mower and beloved Stihl weed trimmer out of storage. Like the spring time returning, I can always count on that weed trimmer to start. (Author's note, stating this now can only mean that the engine will blow by season's end.) I can always count on the fact, that my favorite sport returns. Yes, it's football season.
A not so long time ago, in a galaxy that looked much like ours, baseball was king. Springtime was meant for baseball. The crack of the bat, the dirt in the infield, and the syringes in the lockers were all apart of the game that we all loved. Many of us still love it, but it is no longer our nation's past time. Football is king. I believe this now more than ever.
The last few weeks, around our nation's college campuses, the multi-million dollar practice facilities were alive with the crack of the pads, the crunch of the tackles and the screams of overpaid, yet underachieving coaches. Over-hyped high school recruits were making their initial visits and some are even making their future intentions known. Many of us, including myself are lapping up each piece of it. It is truly the end of the winter blues.
Last weekend, at the University of Nebraska, had more than 80,000 faithful show up to watch nothing more than a scrimmage. Virginia Tech had more than 30,000. Last year Alabama had 92,000 show up for their spring game. If football isn't king, I would like to see 80,000 show up for batting practice at a baseball game. I remember going to the spring game and it would be a good turn out with a few thousand. The times have changed.
The NHL and NBA playoffs are under way. MLB is in its third week of the season. With all that said, at the top of all the sports headlines this week, is the NFL draft. I ask how many of you have ever seen an MLB draft or have read the scouting report on a Canadian Junior League left winger. I can say on good authority that many of us have looked at tons of NFL mock drafts and hold Mel Kiper's word as the gospel. We all will be watching and waiting to see who our teams pick. What other event allows us to talk smack on potential?
A few years ago before I got married, my wife and I had to go through pre-marriage classes in our church before we were to be married. We were in these classes with several other couples. One of our classes happened to fall on the day of the NFL draft. I set my phone on vibrate to notify me of the picks as they came in. I let some of the other husbands know what I was up to. To keep from being discovered, I would share their favorite teams picks. I was like a kid again in school giving secret messages to the others as the picks came in. I still don't remember what any of the speaker's said that day, but I do know that my Steelers picked Ben Roethlisberger. Somehow, my marriage has survived and Ben has guided my beloved Steelers to a Super Bowl title.
Now I will be working on the script for Field of Dreams 2. This time, a long haired hippy in West Virginia builds a football field where his pot plants used to grow. Players from long ago are again playing the game as we knew them. He is drawn to Canton, Ohio by a voice from the heavens. Why? Because It's Football Ray...