Rest easy, Johnny Vols Fan, today is your bye. You too, Johnny Mocs Fan and Johnny Tide Fan.
It's your open Saturday, a day to reacquaint yourself with the family. Heck, even introduce yourself to the Mrs. with the knowledge that you do not have to worry about start times or catching a score between innings of a little league game.
It's an off week, and with the draining stress that comes with being a fan -- admit it, the relief of not losing is stronger than the joy of winning -- every bye is a good bye.
Strange word, that bye. It's the commonly know term for an open week for sports teams. It used to be a term that brought tears to the eyes of youth sports competitors. (Remember the days when playing and losing was better than not playing at all?) Now, this bye is met with a deep breath, a sense of relaxation and the understanding that the stress and uneasiness of devoutedly following a college football team can fall to the devout followers of the rest of college football.
The bye is a needed part of the schedule for the health of every college football team, including the talent-laden SEC.
The bye is a much-needed part of the schedule for the mental health of every fan of a college football team, especially those in the passion-laden SEC.
So, on this day, the good byes are welcomed by good fans everywhere. And they are welcomed by the good supporters of those good fans. In that spirit, here are a few suggestions on your open Saturday:
• GET OUTSIDE. Trust us, it's beautiful. Plus, whatever your activity of choice may be, there's a good chance you can do it with friends and family. (Sorry for yelling there at the beginning.)
• If you need a football fix, there is a bevy of games from which to pick. Heck, the LSU-Florida and Georgia-South Carolina games are monster matchups that offer high-caliber football and low stress levels. That's a win-win, gang. (Side point: Make sure this decision is OK with the significant other who sacrifices every other Saturday in the fall and reschedules every event to match your team's kickoff, whether it's the 12:21 SEC Network game or a 9 p.m. ESPN2 game.)
n Chores. Lots and lots of chores. In fact, strategically find as many chores that take the least amount of time so it looks like you crossed a slew of things off your list.
• Date night. There are a host of options in downtown Chattanooga tonight, from Wine over Water to activities at the park to any and all things in between.
And gang, remember the little things. You need this downtime like the Vols, Mocs and Tide need the physical break. In fact, we're almost certain that the NFL adopted the bye week to alleviate the stress on its fan bases, following the lead of college football.
Think of it this way: Don't you think college athletic departments and NFL front offices would love the extra income from an extra game each year? It would be another multimillion-dollar payday.
No, they keep the open week for the players and for the fans, and each needs the breather for different reasons. Good bye indeed.