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Bring on football (not soccer) season

I had a conversation with a high school friend last night, and one of the first things he said to me was, “I’m ready for football.”

He pulls for teams that aren’t very good, so I’m sure that feeling won’t last long for him, but he makes sense. When you love football as much as he and I do, it doesn’t matter what else is available, it just doesn’t measure up.

This year is unlike most because we have the World Cup. But if you’re like me, it just doesn’t get you excited. I’ll watch games involving the U.S. if it’s convenient, and I’ll probably watch the championship regardless who’s in it, but it won’t make me happy or angry. Maybe it’s because soccer players fake injury too much.

That’s the exact opposite of my colleague Chris Wasson. He loves World Cup, and soccer in general. He follows the English Premier League (he likes Everton) and went on a small rant Saturday afternoon when the U.S. put Ricardo Clark in the starting lineup.

Before Saturday, I’d never heard Ricardo Clark’s name.

The only team I live and die with is a football team. I play a lot of fantasy sports: football, basketball, baseball and this year, for the first time, NASCAR. I find myself more and more rooting only for my fantasy players and not caring about how teams do.

My fiancée likes the Boston Red Sox and Indianapolis Colts. I keep up with those teams because of her, and because of me she likes the University of Alabama, but if Peyton Manning is playing against my fantasy team or if I have the Colts’ running back like I did last year, I will hate their high-scoring passing game.

I watch golf and tennis, but only when it’s convenient and important. I watched some of the last round of the U.S. Open last weekend, and I plan to watch the Wimbledon finals.

I also watched part of the longest tennis match ever played earlier this week. And by “part” I mean I cursed it, because it ended about two minutes after I turned it on.

The Olympics is the only other thing that catches my attention, and it’s probably because those sports garner such little attention in non-Olympic years that they are interesting because of their lack of exposure. But I don’t always cheer for the Americans. I cheer for the stories. I want world records, and if that means an Australian or a Spaniard or a Jamaican have to win, then so be it.

Baseball is the only sport besides football that I truly enjoy. It’s what I grew up playing. I look forward to the baseball season every year and I absolutely love the Home Run Derby. But this time of year — two months after the Major League Baseball season starts and three months before it ends — I lose interest.

The College World Series and Little League World Series used to get me excited, but no more.

I don’t even like March Madness all that much outside of how my bracket performs.

That may sound narrow-minded for someone whose profession revolves around sports, but that’s how I feel.

It has more to do with not being able to enjoy the games on TV than it does simply not liking the sport. I enjoy sports — all sports — and can find beauty in all of them, but they only truly capture my attention if I’m there in person.

I find that funny because while I love to be in the stadium, I enjoy watching football on TV almost as much.

I guess you just love what you love, and anything else is just a substitute.

As is true of my friend, I’m ready for football.

Brian Tynes is sports editor for the Selma Times-Journal. He can be contacted at 410-1716 or by e-mail at brian.tynes@selmatimesjournal.com.