August brings saying goodbye to the sweet summertime and all associated with it — that is, unless you live in the Sunshine State. Instead of packing away the swim trunks and sunglasses, we Floridians just trade Really Hot Summer for Slightly Less Hot Summer and add college football into the mix.
But how can we endure the blazing midday heat and humidity, just to yell and scream our lungs out at a football game?
Because it isn’t just a football game.
I know I’m not the only one who suffers from the midsummer college football cravings. I love summertime and the sports it brings — baseball is one of my forever loves — but there’s just something about Saturdays in The Swamp that’s different. And better.
Between both Fan Day and Rally in the Swamp happening in a span of just a few days, I think it’s safe to say I’m not the only Gator ready to get rowdy in a couple weeks. I’ve never been more excited to wake up early again and spend all day on campus tailgating with old friends and making new ones, because fast friends are common in Gator Nation.
Also, God bless Florida’s September 3 opener for coming at night: A night game in The Swamp is one of my favorite things in the world. Seeing the stadium lit up as thousands of fans are going crazy before kickoff even happens. Watching the lights flicker off the helmets on the field below. Taking in those orange fireworks explode against the blackness of the night after each touchdown accompanied by the roar of the crowd. It’s just awesome.
And I’ve never seen a night game designed to honor Steve Spurrier.
Last season had its fair share of ups and downs, as I’m sure you can remember. I wouldn’t call last season a bad season for the Gators by any means, but I think we can all logically state there were parts that could — maybe should — have gone better.
This season is for moving in that direction. With both a newly-named starting quarterback and a newly-renamed field, the stage is set for newness, and maybe for greatness. I mean, we officially have Spurrier back in orange and blue, so that means we’re winning the national championship, right? (I’m only sort of kidding.)
In all seriousness though, my excitement for Gator football in a couple weeks can’t be contained. I’m ready to lose my voice screaming at the top of my lungs, ready to endure whatever weather Mother Nature throws at us on game days, and ready to jam to the Pride of the Sunshine. I have that gut feeling that this season is going to be a good one, and I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve waiting for kickoff.
But until then, all I have to say is: See y’all in The Swamp in a couple weeks.
Oh, and GO GATORS.