‘Tis the season for college football

‘Tis the season for college football

William, Leigh Anne and Caleb Milne showing their loyalties to Ole Miss, Auburn and Florida

By William Milne –

Welcome back to the most wonderful time of the year!
As we embrace the much-anticipated 2012 football season, there is no argument that college football is advancing through a significant transition!  The competition to be the #1 team has never been more intense; athletes are now being recruited as early as middle school; the stakes of the regular season of play are at an all-time high; and the bowl system is about to progress through its own season of
evolution.
In just one off-season, a traditional power-house program fell victim to the iniquities of a long-time assistant coach; the NCAA granted the wishes to a fan base demanding a college football playoff; a nationally regarded coach retook the reigns after one season in “retirement”; and multiple teams exited their conferences to join others in an effort to improve their programs.
Quite a season! However…
From all of the changes and events surrounding the college football landscape, by far the most important element to college football is…the people who love it and who make it happen.  Yes, certain current events that exist in the college football world are devastating.  Thankfully, there is room for justice and for people who will do their best to administer justice.  Time cannot be erased, nor can past events be changed…but what we can do is move forward together in honor of what we love!
Once upon a time, a young boy discovered a life-changing passion in the hills of Clemson, South Carolina.  On a crisp autumn Saturday in late September, he spent the day with his family in celebration of a Clemson football game (his brother was in school there at the time).  While most family vacations are fun in their own way, this one in particular set a new precedent for a life-long passion.  What made this personal discovery a life-changer were the smiles of everyone he encountered; the gatherings of fans in celebration of a common interest; the passion for winning and disappointment for losing; the time honored traditions at the school; the friendships that were set and formed for life; the music from the marching band; the competition on the field and, mostly, the enjoyment of everyone around him.
That was one day of one season to one person.
Twenty-five years later, that same youngster is still passionate about the most wonderful time of the year…FOOTBALL SEASON!  He joins the millions of fellow traditionalists who welcome this cherished time of year and the new season.  The time has come to rekindle and form new friendships, honor the traditions of the teams that we all love, cheer our teams to victory and suffer the “character-building” losses.  The time has come to embrace the tradition that we love so very much, and the time has never been more appropriate to capture the essence of what makes it so
terrific…
PEOPLE!
Perhaps the most important lesson that we can learn from the past two years is that NO program is above the well being of the people in it.  I am referring, of course, to the players who passionately play the game to represent their schools and the fans that enjoy times with each other and support their teams.   While a select few of us remember the scores of games long ago, we will never forget the memories that we shared with each other.  As our country continues to come out of economic hardships, we will always have the ability to build new memories through football season.
Whether one is a Rebel, Gator, Tiger, Seminole, Husky, Gamecock, Hokie, among countless others, the dawn of a new season is upon us.  It is time for the new era…the new season!  I believe that the time is better than ever for the friendships, traditions, passions and honor of college football to win.  The game and its technicalities will continue to evolve, but the strongest element will only continue to grow…US!
May you have a wonderful college football season – one filled with friendships, traditions, memories and team wins!
William Milne is a longtime Jacksonville resident born and raised in Avondale and Ortega.  He works for EverBank as residential mortgage loan officer and volunteers on the TaxSlayer.Com Gator Bowl Association and Episcopal School of Jacksonville Alumni Board.  He and wife Leigh Anne have a two-month-old son, Caleb.

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