When lightning bolts flare and thunder rolls, parents often get their children playing games to take their minds off the mayhem.
The more we change, the more we stay the same.
When the pressure mounts, a little distraction goes a long way. So with the world in an uproar, more than a few Americans are looking forward to the weekend and the beginning of the college football season — especially in Utah. Yes, compared to the devastation of hurricanes and on the battlefield, the thrill of victory and agony of defeat on the gridiron can seem pretty thin.
But the game serves a purpose. It distracts us from the lightning and thunder and allows the nervous system and muscles of the heart a chance to recharge.
And it gives people a shot of hope in an annual dream.
In Utah this year, there are so many variables in play that dreamers have already begun dreaming their mighty dreams.
Can the University of Utah bottle the magic that Urban Meyer brought to town and put it to work again?
Can Brigham Young University emerge — at last — from the doldrums of poor play and scandal and resurrect not only the uniforms of the glory days but the glory itself?
Can Coach Mac at Weber State University work enough voodoo to make the Wildcats a surprise contender?
Does Utah State University have the talent and team to finally take on the big guys?
The nice thing about a football season is the contests are planned (although the cancelation of USU's season opener was connected to Katrina). Everyone knows when the games are and when champions are crowned. The variables are few. The routine well-known. And any disappointment can be turned into determination by simply waiting until next year.
Compared to the havoc in the South, such concerns seem rather superficial. But they are vital to the sanity of a people and, dare we say, the nation. Even the best soldiers and most dedicated humanitarians need R & R. And for the millions of Americans wringing their hands over the state of the nation, the price of gas, the direction of the war and the fickleness of nature, football season is a needed rest. It has arrived not a moment too soon.
Utah is ready for some football.
Let the games begin.