Monday, August 26, 2013

Football Season! Sans the Anxiety

Always fun to see Ralphie up close and personal.

  For the first time in a long time, the dawn of football season isn't bringing up bittersweet, anxious feelings in my gut.

  Don't get me wrong, I love football season just as much as the next person. In fact, it's my favorite season to participate in as a fan.

  So what's to be anxious about? Dating back to my freshman year in college ('99 for those of you keeping track), football season meant it was time to hit the road.

  First as a teenager from Lake Oswego, heading to Colorado to start college. Then as a professional basketball player heading to Europe to begin every season anew. From my freshman year onward, as the football season got closer and closer to kicking off, the knot in my stomach grew larger by the day.

Here comes Ralphie...!
  Big changes and difficult goodbyes were looming on the horizon.

  On one hand, I grew accustomed to the drastic changes and the adjustment period I would encounter. So I was able to get comfortable fairly quickly. But on the other hand, it began to wear on me after a while. I guess you can say novelty eventually wore off.

Knowing vs. Doing
  Yet I always knew it was time to go. I admit, after a summer of being home, working out for 3-4 months, and doing not-much-of-anything else, it was time to go. Even so, I never liked to see the sunsets coming on earlier and earlier in the evening.

  Knowing you needed to do something, didn't make doing it any easier. I knew I needed to be overseas. It was my job after all. But I'd still always want to squeak out a few more days stateside. Put off the uncomfortable adjustment period, the long day of travel, and the tough goodbyes.

Not going back overseas will be a change.
  There were years when I was lucky enough to see a college football Saturday or two before I head out to cross the pond. And I always was entirely too excited if I got to see just one game on USA-time -- on TV. And if it was in person? I was ecstatic.

This Football Season
  As August quickly comes to a close, and football season knocks on the door, I'm finding that knot in my stomach isn't there.

  There still are bittersweet feelings, just of a different kind this time around. The fact that I don't get to hop on a plane and change lives is a big change for me. Knowing I won't be on a basketball team for the first time since I was eight: enormous change.

CU vs. Georgia in 2010.
  So there are still changes. But none of the anxiety and knot-inducing variety.

  There are things I enjoyed about being able to up and move overseas. Obviously -- if I continued to do it year after year. Things were always fresh and new. They were exciting. There was always something on the horizon to look forward to.

  But this time around, I look forward to enjoying college football Saturdays and NFL Sundays on the couch, or in the stands, in the good ol' US of A.



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