It's that time of year. Football is not in sight yet, but it's getting close enough that I can sense it's majestic and wonderful presence looming on the horizon. Each day is one day closer to the orgasmic moment when the thunderous cry of "Whooaaaaa-OAH!" culminates with a kicking shoe smacking leather and a pigskin flipping gleefully through the air for the first time in 9 Godless months.
The sound is faint, but I swear I can hear the snare drums snapping and the cymbals ringing as the Michigan Marching Band makes its way down Hoover Street towards the holiest of holy grounds. My mouth is watering with thoughts of a slightly charred brat hot off the grill on Elbel Field and a slightly warm Natty Light to wash it down. My feet are starting to swell and my knees are starting to ache with the thought of standing in the same cubic foot of space for 3 glorious hours. Every fiber of my being craves it more and more as the hours pass. My heart beats it. Foot-ball. Foot-ball. Foot-ball.
But of all these wonderful things I can't wait to experience, there is one thing I look forward to most.
Sometime, on the first drive in the first quarter on September 1, 2007, an Appalachian State defender will attempt to successfully tackle Mike Hart.
Sure, his hands will touch Mike Hart. He might even bump Hart slightly off course. But there's that split second right after the initial contact where time seems to freeze. That's when the magic happens. Hart will look the defender in the eye, grin through his mouth guard, and with a look that says "You'll never, ever stop me," he'll turn his head upfield and drag the poor bastard for 5 yards of embarrassment and shame. Will triumphs over strength. Moxy wins out over muscle. When it's all over, Hart will pick himself off the ground, seemingly unaware of the fact that he has just inspired a few million people.
89 days. We go through it every year. It never gets any easier. The only relief is to know that soon, the wait will be over and for three amazing months, the air will roar with autumn thunder and life will be complete.