TGIF: Thank God It's Football

My wife called from work last Friday around 4:30 p.m. "You want to grab a drink after work?" she asked. "I'll buy."

I'm no idiot – about things like this, anyway. Pretty woman, free drinks. I'm in.

A half hour later, I was in our usual watering hole, sitting in our usual booth, drinking my usual big beer. “What's the occasion?” I asked her.

My wife regaled me with the tale of her many successful work conquests that week. She's only been in this job six weeks, so she still cares, God bless her. To give credit where credit's due, though, she is doing very well in her new gig.

After the appropriate congratulatory fist-bump across the table, She Who Must Be Obeyed made a huge mistake: she asked how my week went.

“Do you really want to know, or are you just being nice?” I responded. As great as her week had been, mine was just as lousy. She said she really wanted to know, so I told her. And told her. And told her. I didn't mean to kill her happy buzz, but I did.

Several minutes into my rant, she asked a weird question: “So, when does KU football start?”

“Uhhhh...August 30th against Florida Directional. Why?”

“Oh, I don't know,” she resplied, looking into the bottom of a fruity run drink. “You just seem...happier during football season. You never complain about your job during football season. The kids don't bug you as much. So, I was just wondering.”

Then I realized, she was right. Life is better during football season.

I started thinking about it. Sure, there's nothing quite like Kansas Basketball, but there are 35 or 40 games every year. KU football only happens 12 times a year – 13 if you're lucky.

So, when there's a game on Saturday, I think about it all week long. Show me consecutive KU road games and I'll show you the longest three weeks of the year.

Anyone who reads Phog.net knows I'm not the only one. The first “When does football start?” thread was launched about a week after the basketball team cut down the nets in San Antonio – not out of disrespect to the hoops team but because the basketball championship came just a few months after a monumental Orange Bowl win. No one wanted the momentum to stop; we didn't want the ride to end.

You can set your watch by the Monday Phog.net game prediction threads, the Saturday game threads and the Sunday “fire/canonize Mangino” threads authored by the Phog's crack staff of college football experts. Then, Monday rolls around and the dance starts all over again.

Okay, so maybe I am easier to get along with from late August through late November. After all, it's a nice diversion knowing on Monday that in just a few days, I'll be spending the afternoon and evening in one of college football's most picturesque venues, waving the wheat, chanting, “Rock Chalk” and watching the Crimson and the Blue win.

Maybe the 2009 season won't be quite so historic as 2008, but when you remember where KU football came from just a short years ago, you can understand why me and thousands of other Jayhawk fans start getting excited for Saturdays first thing Monday morning.

So who cares if it's only Wednesday or Thursday? Ice down the beer and soda. Thaw the steaks. Add a little more pepper to the potato salad. Football's finally here, and no one's more excited than me.

Other than my wife and kids, that is.

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