Hip Hip Hooray?

These things I know to be true.

It is August 29th.

The first Indiana football game has been scheduled on August 29th for months.

And today is August 29th.

This means, by the property of things happening on the day that they are scheduled to happen, the first football game is today.

I understand this on an intellectual level, but I am having difficulty really wrapping my head around it. And there’s almost no reason for this.

School has started. We’re in the last throws of stupid-hot weather before it finally breaks and we settle into fall. I’ve chosen my season ticket seats for IU basketball. Premiere League has begun.

But, I can’t quite come to grips with the start of the Indiana football season. And I think I figured out why.

Did you ever have a friend that was just a lot of work? And maybe, if you really thought about it, ‘friend’ wasn’t exactly the right word, but someone you spent a lot of time with socially, maybe someone who lived in your dorm, who was kind of funny, and decent to have at most parties, but was also equally, if not a little more than equally, obnoxious, who often required you to do things like pick them up when they were drunk, or shorted you on their half of the pizza or beer or whatever, who after a while, when their name showed up on your phone, you had to take a deep breath before you answered it because you just knew that this call was going to be more effort than you felt like putting in to anything at all that day? And then, when you finally got to the tipping point where his assbasketry had just gotten to the point where you were seriously considering just being done with him, he did something truly thoughtful, helped you in a crisis, dumped your girlfriend for you, picked up a check without being asked, offered to help you move, or was otherwise an actual friend who gave more than he took. You’re surprised and happy and drawn back in to what has long been and will probably continue to be a relationship that leaves you more empty than it does full.

This is why I can’t come to grips with the IU football season.

After last season, I very nearly gave up on the entire sport of football, so done was I with the emotional toll being an IU football fan was taking. And the thought of signing back up for another season of Dementors Duty is exhausting. But then I keep reading that they’re going to be good this year. That a bowl appearance is expected by people in the media who are at least nominally objective. I think I’m close to being drawn back in. And I’m not sure I’m ready for that.

Do you play golf?

I’ve played before. I’m awful. But what I know about recreational golf is this. You can spend three hours hitting the worst shots, one after another, and then you hit one shot, just one, perfectly, and that small taste of success is enough to get you back out there to spoil yet another walk.

I think we might be looking at the IU Football equivalent of a chip shot that lands with 10 feet of where you wanted it to land after three hours spent searching for your ball in the woods.

And that makes me tired.

And thus ends the most depressing-sounding, yet optimistic, pre-season column you’ve ever read.


Jeff Taylor