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Seasons greetings

As opening day approaches, we should take a moment to reflect on what we have to be thankful for and explore the meaning of Christmas and family and. . . and stuff, right?

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

It is easy, this time of year, to fall head first into the giant ocean of football and drown. The important things get forgotten as we ride an emotional roller-coaster over which we have no control. All the highs and lows our hearts can experience get compacted into 17 weeks of extrapolating every single second of game time, practice reports, and team transactions into play-off implications.

This is, of course, as it should be. Real life is bull shit, let's ride:

To start with, we should assess our current status. The off season is finally over. CAROLINA PANTHERS FOOTBALL IS HERE THIS SUNDAY. All the deep thought and heartfelt concern over every free agent signing (and non-signing) and the insomnia inducing fear over each draft pick's every hang nail and herpes flare up has settled into a dull roar in our ears as we tune everything else out in anticipation of the days that actually mean something in our arbitrarily erected tree houses of love and loyalty.

We now straddle the line between blushing virgin and disappointed bride. This week is a quantum state where every possibility and every tragedy are not only possible but equally probable with the only difference in reports being whether or not an observer had too many beans for dinner at the reception for our impending/recent nuptials.

So let's get ready to love, hate, and accuse each other of looking a little too closely at another team's Tight End at the expense of so many other responsibilities because football is a choice we can't help but make. And it's back!