Football Season Never Ends




Unless you are steeped in the history and tradition of southern football you might get the impression from television, radio or the newspapers that football season is beginning.  Those of us who have followed southern football since before the NFL deemed it fitting to locate one of their teams farther south than the nation’s capitol, know better.


In order for football season to begin it would have to end, and of course, it doesn’t.  Let me provide a few tidbits of information in case you were raised in a place where playing hockey is actually considered an alternative to football or where the end of the professional baseball season is more important than Thursday night Junior High School football.


Football in the north and football in the south are different things entirely.  In the north you get tickets at the stadium ten minutes before kickoff.  In the south you put your name on a waiting list ten months before the game, pony up a second mortgage on the trailer to the booster club, and read the obituaries looking for an opening.  There have been divorces, and I’m told murders, over who actually owns the family’s season tickets.


If a good old boy Alabama graduate marries a belle from Auburn or a lawyer’s son graduates from Ole Miss and marries a farmer’s daughter from Mississippi State we call those mixed marriages.  No weapons are allowed at family get togethers. 


Parking at football games also illustrates the differences.  Up north the university opens campus for parking a couple of hours before game time.  In the south RVs sporting school flags arrive on Wednesday and begin setting up the smokers. 


Tailgating just means something else in the south.  In the north tailgating food consists of sausage on the grill or avocado sandwiches and maybe a beer with lime all served on a portable picnic table.  In the south a 30-foot custom pig-shaped smoker fires up at dawn.  The cooking contest is the only activity that even begins to rival the football game.  Winners will want their trophy buried with them and something like, “Best Hog Cooker” on their tombstones.


At northern universities still engaging in such archaic activities, the homecoming queen plays Field Hockey and is majoring in Women’s Studies while in the south your homecoming queen might well be a future Miss America.  In the north both stadium and campus empty soon after the band finishes its halftime medley of classic show tunes.  In the south when the game is over another rack of ribs goes on the smoker.  Somebody makes a cold beverage run, every play of the just concluded contest is discussed, and planning begins for next week's game.


Of course there is also a different way of dealing with classes after the ESPN Thursday night game.  In the north students and professors may not attend the game due to classes on Friday.  In the south professors cancel classes because even if a couple of students actually come to class they’ll be hung over. 


Football season lasts the entire year, moving from games to recruiting to spring practice to NCAA investigations to preseason practice and back to games.  In the south football season, like The War Between The States, will never be over and that’s all right with me.

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