It’s early. Barely daylight.
Dawn appears as the gradual fade from black to gray. There is no sunrise this day. In fact, it rained for most of the night.
But no skies could be any more blue than the high gray overcast skies this Friday morning, Aug. 1.
Because it’s football season... the 2014 high school football season is officially on the clock, and for a lot of football fans from around these parts, this is like the countdown to Christmas.
I’m talking about fans from all around, those who pull for Summerville, Fort Dorchester, Ashley Ridge, Berkeley, Goose Creek, Cane Bay, Hanahan and Stratford, too.
You know you’re a true football fan if you still remain steadfast and loyal to the Foxes or Rams, when you can find an old newscast videotape from 1997 when Macedonia and St. Stephen met for the last time, and cry one way or the other over the overtime field goal that won the game for Macedonia 3-0.
Football passion runs deep around these parts.
Almost too deep. This love for football here has an ugly side, too, when passion for the game can cause one man to take a swing at another.
But the passion is usually something to celebrate. When team loyalty runs so deep that a fan will start counting down the start of the next season right after the clock on THIS season hits 00:00.
When a guy named McKissick will give it another go at age 87 and has as good a chance to win yet another state championship while most folks his age are playing shuffleboard in Florida.
When a season is defined by two simple words: Beat Dillon.
That’s how you love the game of football.
Where else but in a football stadium can they boo Santa Claus (Philadelphia)?
Woody Hayes, the legendary Ohio State football coach once vowed to walk home if he ran out of gas rather than stop and buy Michigan gas while on a recruiting trip.
It’s this same Woody Hayes, when after scoring a late touchdown against Michigan to go up 48-3 late in their annual rivalry game, sent out the offense to go for two with just 90 seconds remaining in the game.
One assistant coach asked Hayes, “Coach, we’re up 48-3, why are you going for two?”
To which Hayes replied with all conviction and sincerity, “Because I can’t go for three.”
How about the greatest football story ever told?
Pat Dye, the former Auburn coach, reminisced once about playing Alabama.
Less than two minutes remaining in the fabled Iron Bowl and Auburn led Alabama by three.
On the sidelines Dye called up to God himself beseeching him, “Please God, let me beat Alabama. I put this in your hands. What play should I run?”
From the heavens God called down to Pat, “Run Foxtrot, 47, sweep right.”
Pat bowed his head and said, “Thank you God,” and called in the play, “Run Foxtrot, 47, sweep right.”
The Tigers ran the play.
The Crimson Tide had it read all the way.
The Auburn running back was thrown for a loss, the clock ran out and Alabama won.
Pat Dye threw up his hands in anguish and cried out, “God why did you call Foxtrot, 47, sweep right?”
God replied back, “Pat, I don’t know. Bear... why did we call Foxtrot, 47, sweep right anyway?”