JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - I'm always amused when people I meet find out I'm from Florida and the first thing they say is, "How can you stand it? It's so hot there in the summer!" They're right; it is hot here in the summer. So what do we do? We stay inside. That's how Florida got be so popular as a place to live: Mosquito control and air conditioning (and no state income tax). Same as they do in Chicago in February. It's cold; it's snowing so they stay in.
When Demi Moore was shooting "GI Jane" here in town her then-husband Bruce Willis came to visit in the summer. He was on a late night talk show when the host noted he had "just been in Florida." "Yup," Willis quipped, "in Jacksonville, hottest place on Earth." I laughed out loud when I heard that because he's right, it's hot. High temperatures and humidity mean it's uncomfortable for a few months.
While a lot of places start thinking about fall and what they call "football weather" right after Labor Day, our summer is still in full blaze. Been to a Jaguars or a Gators game at home in September? The most precious commodity isn't points scored but rather water.
Golf courses are empty for most of the days in the summer. Early morning tee times are hard to come by as nobody wants to be out over a three-footer at noon in August.
In fact, most of the summer play is by visitors.
Including at the beach.
Save for a few weekends, Floridians don't go to the beach in the summer. Most people you see on the beach in the summer are tourists. For natives, it's too hot.
Maybe that's why it seems so incongruous that the SEC has their media days in July in Birmingham. It's about as hot as it can be in Alabama in late July, yet the assembled media flocks to the meetings looking for one morsel of information. Not much comes out of those meetings except the nuance of how coaches act when they know they're going to be good. Or bad.
Football practice starts in late July for some and sometime in early August for the rest. The latest technology is supposed to protect the players from overheating and threatening their health. NFL teams in Florida have their largest players swallow pills that work through their system and can be read from the outside to check their core temperatures. And to think we survived three-a-days with no water and salt pills until the mid ‘80's!
The summer is a good time to relax. Slow down. Read a book. Travel. Do something different. People say all the time that they can't wait for "football season" to get here. It'll be here soon enough. Enjoy the summer.
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