Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sports Talk: The Perfect Fall Recipe

As a correspondent sports writer for The Casey County News, I write an weekly editorial column for the publication. Published Aug. 14, 2013. 
I just can’t shy away from it any longer. It’s being thrown in my face right and left and every direction I turn… Football.

Social media has made it quite clear in the past few years how the end of July and beginning of August bring on the back-to-school woes, but with it is also a clear craving for the fall season. Typically I notice this excitement being tied to the everyone being completely burnt out by the extreme heat and humid summer weather.  However, heat waves have not cursed us this summer; instead we’ve had an unusual downfall of rain for the first time in years.

But the lack of a weather change incentive has not held off the fall enthusiasm. Equally, and probably more exciting than the change of weather (at least for sports fans), is the potential of an exciting new football season that is soon to begin.

The list of reasons to be anxious for your favorite team’s first kick off is endless, whether your favorite to follow is at the high school, college or professional level.

There is the obvious reason: hope for the chance to cheer your team through an unpredictable, yet successful, season. The Rebels have a huge roster growth and some other big changes in their lineup, promising a fun season. UK fans have the excitement and unknowns of a brand new coach, that, let’s be honest, surely can only take the Cats uphill this season. Louisville fans have the pride of a loved quarterback and coach returning after a great 2012 season.

There is something special about football and a team’s weekly game schedule. It is easier to feel dedicated to a football team than other team’s which play anything from 3 to 5 games a week. Honestly, who has time to watch every game when they are spread throughout the week. Football is always on weekends—with the exception of the occasional Thursday night game.  Your enthusiasm for the game has an entire week to build. You have time to decipher the opponent, develop your own game strategy—never mind the coaches’ strategies—and even analyze the other teams in the conference and what each potential win or loss will do for the rankings.

The once a week event allows for something else we love: tailgating. I don’t just mean actual tailgating in the parking lot of the stadium, but all forms of gathering to enjoy games, whether it be meeting up at restaurants with friends to watch games or planning barbeques and get-together’s. No one could afford to do this for every game a team plays if they are playing multiple times a week and on random days of the week. With football, we can plan a fun Friday night or an eventful Saturday.

Even with a summer like we’ve had, where hot weather didn’t drive us to longing for cool fall days, football makes us crave it all the same. We’re ready for chili soup and other great fall foods to share with friends while wearing scarves, boots and hoodies.  We’re ready for sunshine during the day to enjoy cold drinks and sunglasses but a cool evening that calls for hats and hot chocolate.

Autumn is a great season, any way you slice it. There is something special about the changing of seasons, but there a peace about the cooled down weather and colorful, changing natural scenery. Football is obviously not the only thing that gives us reason o enjoy the outdoors through the fall. It’s the season of festivals as well, but football does have all of the ingredients of a unique recipe that results in fall love. A recipe that includes our favorite teams, a single-game-per-week schedule, delightful weather, food favorites, friends and family, beautiful colors and cozy fall gear.

It will not be long now for kickoff—high school, college or pro—and so many other great things are sure to come with it.

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