Just like that, football is here

Maybe it’s a testimony to advancing age, but it seems like the hockey and basketball seasons just ended.

Didn’t the Pittsburgh Penguins just wrap up a Stanley Cup title and didn’t the Cleveland Cavaliers (don’t call them cadavers) just win the NBA playoffs?

But here we are in mid-July and teams in the National Football League will soon open preseason camps.

Yes, football will be here in all of its glory. More quickly than you can say presumptive presidential candidate.

Once upon a time, there was at least a pause before the grid season arrived.

Baseball seasons didn’t last until early November, the World Series was wrapped up by mid-October. And hockey and basketball campaigns used to wind up in early May.

Besides the pros, the colleges and high schools will begin their practices in early August. The football “factories” like Alabama, USC, Oregon and Florida State began weeks ago.

With the local prep season due to begin on Aug. 26, teams will be issuing equipment very soon.

Speaking of the local high schools, some big changes are in the offing.

Hurley, Wis. has joined the WestPAC this season, leaving the Great Western Conference. The Midgets have been a perennial power, qualifying for the playoffs in Wisconsin for several years in a row.

The GWC suffered another blow when Forest Park officials decided to opt for 8-man football this season.

The Trojans will join defending state champion North Central in a race for supremacy that will almost certainly be felt in small school circles around the state.

I can’t even imagine FP power-runner Daniel Nocerini running against a three or four-man line. And North Central has many of the athletes back who have won back-to-back state crowns in eight-man football and Class D basketball.

Calumet, which has dominated the big school scene locally for years, lost some excellent players. But coach John Croze always seems to have a load of talent stockpiled and the Copper Kings will be tough again.

Lake Linden-Hubbell appears to have lost too many standouts to be a playoff threat. But coach Andy Crouch will have a few good linemen and that’s always a plus for any team.

LL-Hubbell replaced Hurley and Forest Park on the schedule with foes like Newberry, Munising and Iowa-Grant, Wis. (to be held in Tomahawk, Wis.). That won’t be an easy task.

There’s still the colleges and the pros to look at, but that’s a column for another day.