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Why should I care about sports in July?

Let’s try and figure it out.

NCAA Basketball Tournament - UNC Wilmington v Virginia Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Following sports is crazy now. Every single sport (I’m looking at you, table tennis) is generating news year round. The NBA Draft and free agency period have turned the post-Finals summer into a barnstorm of headlines (Dennis Smith Jr. for ROY!!) and Woj bombs. Even baseball has summer energy thanks to Aaron Judge.

But what about the Wolfpack? As much as I try to tell myself that I can just relax, football and basketball will come back around when their time is right and I can just enjoy my summer, spend time with my family, pretend my lawn isn’t half crabgrass and weeds ... I can’t help myself from being glued in.

But I think I’ve figured out why I don’t mind it so much. July is the peak of “maybe.” “Maybe this year will be different, so let’s figure out how that might be”. We’re all trying to piece together the puzzle of how our team stacks up against the competition, and if our puzzle pieces will finally break through.

We only get to catch glimpses of the things our guys have been working on to get better.

LOOK! Abu has a 3 point shot!

Ummm, did Kentavius Street just squat 700(!!) lbs??? (Also, I’m pretty sure that guy could throw me like a javelin.)

These summer glimpses are the peep show of sports. “I heard Keatts has been doing daily full court press drills” … “Yeah well I heard Finley has been throwing 50 yard frozen rope post routes.” Okay that one might be a stretch, but you catch my drift. This makes the pre-internet era feel quaint in comparison. All these rumors were much more rumor-y.

It is also the time for outlandish claims. “State picked to finish 4th in the division, but some dude thinks we’ll be 4th in the CFP??” The point is, we don’t know what’s going to happen, and that’s the fun part.

As much we might try to avoid the hype train, we love it. As Steven said, it’s okay to have expectations. Don’t run from the hype train, but maybe also don’t stand in the middle of the tracks waiting for it to run you over. We have to go in with realistic expectations, which I think everyone in the BTP community understands (June 2016 notwithstanding). It is okay to admit that it’s fun to imagine success. This is what coaches tell their teams every single practice, every single drill. Why can’t we do the same as fans?

I’m making the decision to embrace the hope. I would love to imagine State contending for the division with FSU and Clemson, but will be fully satisfied if they lose those games but are competitive to the end. Losing those two games and one more along the way would put us at 9-3, and I think I speak for most fans that we’d be ecstatic with a result like that. On the flip side, if it doesn’t go that way, it doesn’t negate the time spent in July when we were sitting here wondering if it could be done. Enjoy the maybe.

A team with talent and potential is not the same as Dracula, it does not need holy water thrown on it…although the stake to the heart will quite likely come later.