Smith: Are you ready for some football? I certainly am ...

Smith: Are you ready for some football? I certainly am ...

I was already ready for football season -- and then LeBron James pushed me over the edge.

July 1, 2018 will go down as a historic day in NBA history with "The Decision 3.0." Most bandwagoners are taking the 34-hour 2,346.5-mile trek from Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland to the Staples Center in Los Angeles — claiming only LeBron and not the Cavaliers — while others are coming back from Oracle Arena in Golden State after a four-year time span, dealing with a shorter distance (365.5 miles, 5 hours and 36 minutes) to once again bleed purple and gold.

Meanwhile, I’m just looking at the local prep football schedule, ready to cover games again.

As a Denver Nuggets fan, what LeBron did wasn’t going to bother me. If anything, I can prepare for a first-round loss to the Lakers and move on. All over my social media feeds, there have been memes, numerous statuses being deleted due to distasteful words about the Lakers, bandwagon applications, Kobe fans not willing to deal with the new reality and LaVar Ball reactions -- you name it.

Outside of a couple of memes, I’m wondering how the area teams are going to fare in my fourth year in our area and 11th overall.

What will Kinston do in order to stay at a strong level despite losing 25 seniors from last year’s 9-3 team, a Vikings squad which was a combined three points away from an undefeated regular season?

Can North Lenoir continue to be a factor in the Eastern Carolina Conference under new coach Jim Collins after a Hawks resurgence over the past two seasons?

After a young South Lenoir roster took its lumps last season, how will the Blue Devils fare with that extra year of experience?

Outside of the fanfare of playing an 11-man game for the first time in 29 years, can Arendell Parrott Academy make it to an unprecedented fifth straight state title game?

As Bethel Christian Academy continues to grow its young core, can the Trojans do some damage in NCISAA 1A play?

After winning a playoff game for the first time since 2005, can Greene Central recover from losing numerous key seniors for another good season?

Will Ayden-Grifton get its playoff streak up to 18 consecutive years while challenging to be a threat in the ECC again?

Can Jones Senior survive one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the state and put the Coastal Plains Conference on notice?

Even outside of local play, what will West Craven — the Eastern Carolina Conference champions in 2017 — and an improving Washington team do for an encore in 2018?

High school sports are usually played at the purest level — it’s all about the front of the jersey and maximum effort can beat talent on any given day. With so many narratives coming together in an ECC which should be wide open, it’ll be a must-see event each week (or something to follow on social media).

Whether in the press box, patrolling the sideline, talking to coaches and players or interacting with the passionate fan base, it’ll be a refreshing change of pace. July is the last month without football, and I can’t wait for it to be over.

For now, I guess I’ll just laugh at a couple LeBron memes. He wasn’t hiding his decision from Cavs fans, he was hiding Cavs fans from his decision.

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Former Kinston greats coach the next generation

Former Kinston greats coach the next generation

Harris launched multiple careers at LCC

Harris launched multiple careers at LCC