The Summer Of Our DiscontentS

Pretty soon, this will all be over. No more loping around idly on Saturdays and Sundays. No more wandering outside and soaking in the sun. No more posts about the Tomatina. It's almost football season!

And that's a glorious feeling, isn't it? Other sports are well and good, but few — with the exception of major golf tournaments, which barely count as it is — are as regimented and, thus, as convenient as football. Wake up, eat breakfast, watch football. All Saturday, all Sunday. There are interludes, of course, but there is always football to be watched on the weekend, and, moreover, there is always good football to be watched on the weekend.

With football come the fringe benefits — tailgates and Tailgates, depending on where you're from; frat boys in Oxfords and sorority girls in summer dresses, depending on your preference; Lou Holtz and Joe Theismann, depending on your taste in sadism — but the autumn and early winter are paced by football itself, the sport at its bone-shaking and helmet-thudding purest. None of these slices of Americana exist without football, the biggest piece of all, the one that seems strangely missing in the spring and summer and every day that's not Saturday or Sunday.

"If a man watches three football games in a row, he should be declared legally dead," Erma Bombeck once mistakenly quipped, forgetting or just not knowing that sometimes, those afternoons-turned-into-nights can make anyone feel as alive as ever. Meanwhile, I'm going to go play some wiffleball, or something, knowing that next week, at this time, I'll be busy and booked straight through February.