When I find myself spending an hour of my life watching "Extreme Dodgeball" on television, it means I'm having a severe jonesing for some sports action.

And now, football season is upon us to satiate that fix.

Why do I love football season? Let me count the ways:

1. There's only one game a week. If you're addicted to baseball or basketball or that sport they play up north with sticks, you have three to six games a week to keep up with.

That's entirely too daunting. In football - pro, college, and high school - there is just one game a week. And if you follow all three, the games are scheduled on Friday (high school), Saturday (college) and Sunday (pro).

Deviation from that schedule (i.e. Thursday night college football games) is heresy in my eyes. Thursdays during football season should be reserved for planning what games you're going to attend or watch Friday, Saturday and Sunday. And resting appropriately.

2. College football tailgating. If you've never been tailgating at an SEC football game, you better get to it before you die. It's serious business. I know folks who go up to Athens for every Georgia home game - and not because they are Bulldog football fans. They don't know Champ Bailey from Beetle Bailey, David Pollack from Jackson Pollock, Fran Tarkenton from Fran Drescher. They could care less.

They go to tailgate and bask in the smells, sights, sounds, and smells that accompany this fine Southern tradition.

3. Bands. A live horn section playing a school fighting song beats some piped-in music playing over a loud speaker any day. Pro football should be ashamed they don't have team bands.

4. Football spawns emotion. I don't bat an eye when my shoes catch on fire, but for some reason, probably insanity, I'll get all excited about a good football game.

And that type of loyalty to one's team runs deep and strong. I'm not a violent person, but if someone says something derogatory in front of me about Larry Munson, Erk Russell or Herschel Walker (Georgia football's Holy Trinity), they are likely to get thrashed. Or, if they are bigger than me, be subject to a very stern stare.

5. Football is more reverent. Thanking God is big in the post-game locker room, particularly with the winning team. Don't know why, but that type of reverence seems more abundant and accepted in football than in any other sport.

Still waiting for the guy in the losing locker room to say "God made me fumble." Haven't heard that yet.

6. High school football in places that care about high school football.

Some areas - mostly urban or suburban - don't care much for high school football. Folks don't go to see the games. There's no mamas selling school paraphernalia for the Booster Club. There's no guy volunteering to cook hamburgers for the concession stand. There's no PA announcer who bellows in a thick Southern drawl: "They're going through our line like wat-ah through a sift-ah."

There's no community spirit. Those places stink.

High school football, when done right, isn't about one team against another. It's about a community coming together and putting its social and racial and economic differences aside, and for three wonderful hours, being one community. It's about our boys versus your boys. Our band versus your band. Our concession stand versus your concession stand. Our kids and your kids and our adults and your adults - all having a grand time.

Try it this football season. If you look, you may see what I see.

- Len Robbins is the editor/publisher of The Clinch County News.

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