This is going to be fun.
Practice is tough, especially in extreme temperatures. Practice can be brutal. Practice can be demanding.
But in the end, all these hot practices will lead to the actual football season. And yea, that's going to be a blast.
The official road to the 2012 high school football season opens today. Months of weight training, of spring drills, of conditioning and team camps lead us to today, the first day of football practice.
Week 1 of the season won't even wait until September. Most of Washington's teams will begin play on Aug. 31. Skyview is getting a jump, with its first game at Hillsboro Stadium in Oregon on Aug. 30.
Oh, this is going to be fun.
Here are some of the story lines for the 2012 campaign:
• 112-31. That's the combined record of Skyview, Union, and Camas since the 2008 season. Combined, they have eight league championships in that span. For the first time, all three teams will be in the same league, the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League.
• New turf. McKenzie Stadium will host the first games on its new turf field on Aug. 31. It will be the first of nine Friday night doubleheaders at the east Vancouver stadium as Evergreen faces Fort Vancouver and Union takes on Mountain View.
• A new champion. With Camas moving to the 4A ranks, there has to be a new leader in the 3A GSHL this season. Will it be Mountain View? Can Prairie carry over the momentum from 2011 to reach the top? Is Columbia River going to make the leap? And what about Kelso?
• New-look leagues. The Ridgefield Spudders are returning to the 2A ranks, joining the 2A GSHL. Aberdeen also is in the league now.
Woodland, meanwhile, is going from 2A to 1A and will be in the Trico League with rival La Center. Small private school Seton Catholic is opting up to 1A to join the Trico, as well, in its first year as varsity program.
All the movement means the 4A, 3A, and 2A GSHLs each have six teams apiece. That makes for four non-league games to begin the season, then a five-week sprint for league titles and the playoffs.
It's just so fun to think about all the possibilities. Today, we can officially start to think about all of them.