Spring and fall, the seasons I enjoy the most, are the seasons of transition. For the football players I am sure they are going to enjoy their spring workouts a lot more than the ones in the winter, which are about pushing themselves to their limits physically to get them ready for actually putting the pads on and playing football, which is a lot more fun than running circuit drills and wind sprints early in the morning.
I always enjoyed springs on the Auburn campus while coaching the Tigers. I always enjoyed the beauty on campus of the trees and flowers blooming and seeing the students out and about enjoying the sunshine and warm weather. It's just a great time of the year to be alive in a place like Auburn.
Now that I have retired from coaching, what I do in the spring is certainly different, but I?am still in the growing business. Instead of trying to grow young, inexperienced football players into mature football players and young men, I am doing the same thing with azaleas, dogwoods and Japanese maples in my nurseries.
Being around those plants every day, I don't say they're like people, but they sure do get close at times. You get attached to them, particularly the ones that need extra attention to make it, just like it was with some of the football players I worked with as an assistant coach and head coach. Like it is with my plants now, it was also fun to anticipate what they were going to look like when they started budding out and blooming.
When the weather warms up, and the players hit the practice field in the spring, you can see a little extra bounce in their step because they realize it is their time for growth. To me it is just a wonderful time of year and I don't think I am alone in that regard.
Living in the Southeast you see more people outside doing things, taking advantage of the weather and longer days. You see people out getting their lawnmowers serviced or working in their gardens. It's just part of living in our region and the early and long springs are one of the things that make this part of the country such a special place to live.
Through the years of coaching and playing football, I have got friends all over the Southeast from North Carolina to Texas, and it is one of things that is special to me as a retired coach. It helps me wake up every morning with a smile on my face as someone who is glad to live in a free country where we can enjoy the way of life we have. Sure, it isn't perfect, but I guess nothing ever really is, but I truly feel blessed and a lot of people I know feel the same way.
(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)
Editor's Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye participates in the Legends Poll, a Top 25 rating of the best teams in college football as determined by a panel of all-star former head coaches. Dye writes three columns for AUTigers.com--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat's Picks.