It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon, September 13, two weeks from today. Perhaps you have a pot of chili cooking. Perhaps you’re taking an afternoon nap.
We will be in the middle of the first full football weekend of the fall; a day many assumed wouldn’t come to pass in 2020.
We will be one day removed from the first Carolina game of the season (hopefully a victory against Syracuse); a game likely played in a fan-free Kenan Stadium.
We will know how the second year of Mack Brown 2.0 has started.
We will know if Sam Howell’s sophomore campaign picks up where his dynamic freshman season left off.
We will know if all the recruiting efforts have paid dividends, and brought depth to what was a thin depth chart in 2019.
We will know how the players who have opted out affect that same depth chart, particularly in the secondary (P.S. please honor and respect those players who have chosen to opt out of this season).
We will know if Chazz Surratt, the 2019 breakout quarterback-turned-linebacker, is ready to handle the spotlight of being Mel Kiper’s second-ranked inside linebacker prospect on his 2021 NFL Draft Big Board. Will Surratt be affected by his brother Sage’s decision to opt out of the season?
We will also be ensconced in the first Sunday of NFL games.
We know that Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears will travel to Detroit to take on the Lions in a divisional game.
We know that Jason Strowbridge will suit up for the Dolphins in his first professional game as they travel to Boston to take on the now Tom Brady-less Patriots.
We know that Eric Ebron will begin his seventh NFL season with a new team, the Steelers, catching passes from two-time Super Bowl champion Ben Roethlisberger.
We know that Ebron will be running routes alongside fellow Tar Heel Ryan Switzer.
What we don’t know is what’s to come beyond that.
Will we have a full football season?
What will happen to the other fall sports?
Will winter sports, such as basketball, begin on time?
Will we get to go trick-or-treating?
Will the Macy's parade happen on Thanksgiving Day?
Will COVID-19 have unforeseen long-term effects on the student-athletes?
Will shopping and eating out be forever altered?
Will masks just be part of our reality from now on?
Will life ever return to “normal”?
Unfortunately, we can’t answer these questions.
What we can do is live the life that’s right in front of us. Even before COVID-19 none of us were guaranteed anything beyond the breath that is in our lungs right this second. Life-as-we-know-it feels more tenuous now than it did prior to March. We are each keenly more aware of the fleeting nature of what previously seemed like the most concrete of realities.
And while we must wrestle with those new truths, my ask of you is this: Enjoy what you have. Take in the moments that you are experiencing in ways that you didn’t before. What can you be thankful for that you used to take for granted? How can you appreciate what might have once felt mundane?
It’s a new, unknown world that we are living in.
And you know what?
Amidst all the uncertainty, the familiarity of getting to watch a weekend’s worth of football two weeks from now would certainly do us all a bit of good.
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