Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone
Tailgate crews are setting menus. Road warriors are making travel plans. Band camp is underway. In a few short weeks, college football will return, in all of its glory.
All of its glory. That last part is important. Sure a season took place last year, if in name only. But it was missing its spirit, its soul, its ethos. Crowds, if present at all, were a fraction of their usual size. Bands were minimized, and halftime shows were nonexistent. Tailgate lots were barren.
As summer gives way to fall, there is palpable excitement from college football's faithful. The sport's homecoming, both literally and figuratively, is at hand. The sport that we love, in the way that we love it, is back for the first time in 20 months. As we prepare for the return of the cadence of gameday, many are commemorating it in their own way. Podcasts are preparing hypothetical road trips. Sportswriters are penning love letters - to the sport, sure, but just as much to the pageantry that sets it apart from any other experience in sports or beyond. And we, the fans? We simply can't wait to pull up to that first tailgate after a full season without.
Because with all due respect to Joni Mitchell, paradise and parking lots aren't mutually exclusive.