August: Optimism Embodied.

The month of August always has the potential to be my favorite sports month of the year. Of course, there's always the month of March: the Madness, Major League Baseball spring training, the NBA building towards a regular season climax (the massaging of the balls, if you will); and you've got October with the college football regular season, the NFL in full swing, the baseball World Series, and the NBA just starting to get aroused. But August, for me anyway, I don't think there's anything better.

NBA free agency is in full swing, what with the wheeling and the dealing. The Mariners are in a pennant race, three games behind Anaheim and a half game behind Cleveland for the Wildcard; but it's not that September pennant race where I'm nervous and sweating all the time because every game could be our last. I'm still in the post-coital afterglow of the regular season where anything is possible, the trading deadline has come and gone, and who knows, this could be the team that's going to win our first World Series.

And then there's the NFL training camps / Pre-Season. Hooo boy! See, during the regular NFL season, I'm a wreck. There's all this pressure for EVERY single game! Like, for instance, say there's a crappy team on the schedule this week ... well you can't take 'em lightly! Any NFL team can win at any time without rhyme or reason. If we're not prepared, if some fluke interceptions or fumbles go the other team's way; maybe a field goal hits the upright or the defense gives up a crucial late 3rd down conversion ... that's it, we've now lost a game we should've won. That's not even mentioning the six games we HAVE HAVE HAVE to win against our division opponents, or the other six against conference rivals who'll most likely be competing against us for playoff spots / seeding. And if there's a great team we're about to play ... well, if we don't put up a good showing, the national pundits will discredit our organization and not give us the propers we deserve for what we've already accomplished!

See, there's a lot riding on every NFL season. There's only 16 games and there are MONTHS in between where nothing's happening. If your season goes down the shitter early, you're stuck waiting another year before you can feel optimistic again.

And that time of the year is? August. No pressure in August. I can sit here and devour article after bloggish article from three Seattle/Tacoma newspapers, I can learn about all the rookies who're making a name for themselves and all the schlubs who'll be a part of the first wave of cuts. I can read about our new safeties making awesome tackles as well as how Shaun Alexander is lighter and faster than ever. Bobby Engram, Mr. Ageless Wonder, making diving catches in traffic across the middle of the field. The rookie 4th round defensive tackle absolutely manhandling all rookies and Pork Chops who try to block him.

At this point, I can sit here and look at our schedule and envision ways of us winning each and every game. The first 16-0 regular season leading to our blowing away all NFC playoff opponents and somehow lucking out against a superior AFC opponent in the Super Bowl. 19-0; can you feel it???

Because, as soon as that calendar flips, that feeling is going to turn into butterflies. The Seahawks lose a game and I'm a devastated wreck the rest of the day; my week for all intents and purposes is ruined. I refuse to read any recaps of the defeat, and I'm even more worried that one loss will turn into a streak will turn into a sub-.500 season will turn into all those Seahawks haters hatin' even more than usual as their own teams go on to success and glory.

Mussn't think about that now. Must only think positivity. After all, it's still August. My favorite sports month of the year