No winter lasts forever. No spring skips its turn.
In watching this video, we can smell the wafting scent of perpetually decaying vegetation surrounding Gainesville like cheap cologne, and feel the crushing humidity. Other places joke about having 90% humidity, but the weather today in Gainesville without rain is holding steady at 90% humidity. In the spring it is like living in a bowl of gazpacho. In the summer, it's more of a fine milky chowder you exist in when not changing t-shirts.
If you go to the practice field, it is not half as nice or removed as you would imagine it to be. Situated between a parking garage and the law school, it yawns out for a good three or four football field's of length, covered in spiky abrasive bermuda grass. It only looks soft. Landing on it takes you straight to the sandy ground with little cushion. It, too, is unpredictable. Land one way and it feels like a crash pad. Land at another angle, and it might as well be a parking lot.
You can stand if you like, or sit on a little rise at one end of the field, something [NAME REDACTED] banned in one of the eight thousand stupid things he did as coach of Florida. Families come out in the afternoon. Students stop by whenever. Coaches roam the field with clipboards and whistles, gesticulating. When we're there we like to watch the defensive backs high-pointing the ball on pass drills. Young men with elastic tendons can put ridiculous amounts of blue sky between their heels and the ground.
You might want to be in Las Vegas today for the first weekend of March Madness. This is a fine choice: it is an orgy of wagering and drinking, one long enabling of your worst impulses brought to you by America's second favorite indoor sport. It needs to be done at least once, and like most things people tell you should be done once, should in fact be done as many times as you like.
If we had our choice, it would be slightly different. We would be in Gainesville, and we would be sitting on the practice field watching nothing in particular and listening to the sounds of the coaches hustling players from station to station, of pads being hit and released, of sporadic profanities and exclamations made over plays that will not count. It is a tiny reminder that football isn't dead, but just sleeping on the practice field, and dreaming over and over again of the basics dreams are made of: block, tackle, catch, throw, run, hit.
When it wakes up, it will be in the light of a stunning late summer morning. And it will be beautiful.