Remember when you were young and would go to the beach (or the mountains or the desert or maybe just a cheap hotel with an ice machine and swimming pool) on summer vacation? If you were lucky, you might meet someone while you were there, and you’d think they’re cute and they’d think you’re cute, and the next you know, you’re holding hands.
It turns into a fling, you have a great time, and then when vacation comes to an end you seal things with a kiss and promise to call.
But you don’t call.
A new school year begins, you fall into your regular routine, and with each passing day that sweet summer romance fades from memory.
That’s how I imagine many of my American sisters and brothers feel about the Canadian Football League right now.
School (college football) and work (the NFL) is back in session, so you forget all about that fun in the sun.
Look, I’m not judging you … some of my best friends pretend to love the CFL before leaving it.
For me, though, the summer romance doesn’t end with the end of summer. It just sets up a ménage à trois.
Now before you think I’m getting all pervy please note that the literal translation of ménage à trois is “household of three.” That being the case, for the next several months my gridiron household of three will include the CFL, NFL and college football. It’s not all that hard to manage as long as you learn to prioritize.
Friday night, for example, Montreal played BC in a CFL game. It started at 7:30 p.m. EDT, while Marshall at Boise State began at 9 p.m.
I watched the Alouettes edge the Lions, 21-16, but didn’t see any of the NCAA contest because I was ready for nite-nite by then.
Today if you want to watch college football, you can start at noon and keep going until around 2 a.m. on Sunday. The CFL, on the other hand, has a tripleheader, with games at 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. I’m just not that committed, especially since I got up early to catch an English Football League One match.
My Saturday tackle football plan includes two college clashes and a CFL showdown.
I’m a UAB fan and the Blazers take on Akron at noon, EDT. That means I’ll be tuning in to the CBS Sports Network for that one.
Having been in the Upstate of South Carolina for almost 12 years (and covering Clemson athletics for much of that time), one would think I’d watch the Tigers host Texas A&M at 3:30 p.m.
The scheduling, however, doesn’t work out. Not for me, anyway.
The UAB game will likely run until at least 3:45, and then the Banjo Bowl takes place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, starting at 4 p.m. Featuring the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (8-3) and Saskatchewan Roughriders (7-3), this is a battle for supremacy in the CFL West Division, and I’m gonna lock in to ESPN+ for that one.
(And if you don’t know what the “Banjo Bowl” is, it’s a pretty cool modern tradition. You should look it up … that’s what Wikipedia is for).
As for my night football screening, Texas and LSU will most likely win out over Calgary at Edmonton, although I might end up switching back and forth. If nothing else, I hope to hear Tiger boss Ed Orgeron spit out words in his gravel-infused Cajun accent during the pregame interviews.
There are no CFL conflicts with the NFL this Sunday, so my viewing schedule is set. I don’t have a comprehensive NFL package like the cool kids, so I’ll have to settle for my “in-market” games.
I’ll go with the Los Angeles Rams vs. the Carolina Panthers at 1 p.m. (the Rams are my second favorite NFL team), and then maybe check out the New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys at 4 p.m.
I’ll skip the nightcap featuring the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots because, frankly, I dislike both teams.
Obviously, what I watch and why I watch will change from week to week, and sometimes it gets convoluted.
The New York Jets are my favorite pro football team, but the CFL is my favorite pro football league.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are my favorite CFL team, but will almost always lose a head-to-head TV matchup with the Jets as long as the Fly Boys are in playoff contention. Sadly, that dream usually dies in October.
Point being, I enjoy all three styles of tackle football and it’s fun trying to figure out what to pick and choose on any given Saturday and Sunday.
So instead of sacrificing a summer romance for fall and winter relationships, I just continue to play the field.
I guess when it comes to football, I’m just not ready to settle down.