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Published:August 11th, 2006 08:08 EST
Thank God it's Football Season!

Thank God it's Football Season!

By Lonny Stewart

For me personally, football is life. There is no other game on Earth that is quite like it. Football is arguably the most complicated sport, as evidenced by the thousands of plays the players have to memorize, and thousands more of the personal assignments that each player is designated. It requires a level of physical toughness that is unsurpassed only by Rugby. Physicality is the name of the game. Athletes are required to be conditioned and toned, and the risk of injury is significantly high. Maybe that`s part of the reason so many fans appreciate the game - they get to see people knock each other`s heads off in a fairly legal manner.

Yes, it`s that time again, sports fans. Break out the cheese-heads. Grab the body paint. Get those spiky shoulder pads on. The beginning of the football season is upon us, and with it, comes the hope of millions of fans across the country that this year could finally be their team`s year!

Okay, that was hokey. But for all the diehard football fans, August isn`t just the last true month of summer; it`s the beginning of the great football traditions passed down from generation to generation. And I for one, love them. Those traditions - sitting on the couch for 9 hours straight, eating chips, drinking beer, and only using the bathroom at the most dire of circumstances - are as big a part of the pastime as the game itself.

And then, there`s tailgating. Tailgating is the universal language of football fans to express their gratitude towards the game. Tailgates can be found outside of every major football game, especially college ball. I think tailgating brings people who normally wouldn`t commune together and gives them a common ground to socialize. At tailgates you`ll find everything necessary for a good time - friends, fans, beer, food, beer, people tossing around a football, and beer. They even have beer! Did I mention that?

Curiosity begs to ask why beer has become such a large part of game festivities. Besides the obvious answer - it`s delicious, and goes well with food - beer is as American as football itself. It`s just another way for people to express their pride. For example, last season I was watching  the NFL Wild Card playoffs when the CBS camera operator showed a Bengals fan who was holding a full 32 ounce cup of beer, cheering, and having a good time. The camera cut away, but after about 30 seconds, it showed the fan again, except this time, there was maybe two or three ounces of beer left in his cup. Kudos to you, sir. Shot-gunning a beer in that amount of time not only deserves a round of applause, but demonstrates my point exactly: beer and football are inseparable.

Besides giving people an excuse to be social, football provides a lot of business to the cities they`re established in. An example is Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Because of the 105,000 seating capacity, parking is spread out throughout the city. It gives people a chance to walk by local shops and restaurants and contribute to their businesses. Nearly everyone benefits from the increased fan presence.

Football and everything surrounding it has become an institution in America. The games are never the same but the fans will always be there. So crack one open, tie one on, and enjoy the game. I know I will.