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A glimmer of hope

It’s the time of year that can make one lose perspective, which can literally try men’s souls – mid-July, in the Deep South, with the heat, humidity, mosquitoes and gnats all vying for prominence. Then, just as you’ve reached bottom, there’s a small glimmer of hope. In the sports section of the morning paper, you spy an article announcing that Southeastern Conference Football Media Days start this week, meaning only one thing…college football season is just around the corner.

If you have to ask, “What is SEC Football Media Days?” then you probably should read no further, because you just won’t understand. But if you do need reminding, it’s when players and coaches from the country’s greatest college football conference gather to give the media a preview of the upcoming season. It means, more importantly, that we are less than two months away from kick-off.

Having lived in Auburn, Ala., for the better part of my life, I can’t imagine not looking forward to the remarkable transformation that occurs with the arrival of football season. It’s the experience of going to bed one night in a sleepy town of about 54,000 residents, and waking to a bustling sports mecca with more than 150,000 people jamming the streets, most of them clad in orange and blue, and many of them deliriously happy, for various reasons. It’s the thrill of watching the majestic “War Eagle” mascot, oblivious to thousands of screaming fans, circling the stadium before swooping down on the 50-yard line to claim home-field advantage.

It’s like nothing else in the world.