This weekend kicks off college football, and I couldn’t be happier.
few lot of years ago, I was starting college at the University of Florida, without a clue about football. My parents weren’t football fans, and my high school won 2 games in 3 years, so it just wasn’t something I knew about.
But I quickly learned. I was dating a guy who loved the Gators and taught me a great deal, and had a good friend who was born with Orange & Blue blood. So I went from not knowing what ’1st and 10′ meant, to being able to recap players and plays, better than most I knew. The boyfriend was proud. I even spent a few seasons working with a team of girls helping with recruiting, and was able to see parts of the facilities that most never do, as well as meet high school boys who would go on to become great players with big careers.
I learned about more than just X’s and O’s, and learned about the strong history, the players and coaches backgrounds, and knew I was cheering for more than just a University, but for people who were living their dreams.
I love it all. I love college football, and especially my Gators.
In the years since college, I’ve grown to appreciate those stories of triumph even more. And today, I’ll be watching to see who becomes a legend, who writes a page in our history book- who makes the dream happen. I won’t just be cheering for the hard hits, spiral passes and touchdowns, but I’ll be cheering especially loud for these two players, who have stories worth sharing. They’ll remind you that today is about more than a score.
#20, Marcus Maye, takes the field today honoring another #20 from years past who drowned just before his first season, and never did run on the field on game day. He carries with him the heart and support of the mother who didn’t get to watch her son, James McGriff, play. His story will touch you.
#37, Mark Herndon, went to bed hungry most nights last season. He was a walk-on to the Gator team, who came from a family that struggles financially and couldn’t send money to their son. Not being on scholarship meant not even being able to eat with the team, so Ramen was his meal of choice. He worked hard. He went hungry. It was worth it to pursue his dreams. And this week, he earned a scholarship, which means he’ll now be able to focus on school and football, not on where his next meal comes from. I’ll be cheering for him today. And I’ll be sharing his story with my boys, who need reminders that dreams don’t come easy, but can be achieved.
These are the reasons that College Football season is the best season of all. The history, the dreams, the battle. I love it all.