From the Sidelines: It’s not fall

Published 7:10 pm Friday, August 15, 2008

This is the worst time of the year. It’s almost time for football but not quite yet. And it’s easy to get confused.

There are generally a couple of days mixed in where the temperature is about a nice, breezy 77 degrees and it actually smells like fall. Then there are these little mini games and scrimmages that closely resemble football.

So you start to feel like it’s fall. And you let yourself get a little excited that it’s almost time for football and friends and family and all the festivities that come with fall and it feels fantastic. Then you realize that your alliteration was all for not. It isn’t fall. So you try to convince yourself one more time by taking in that pleasant aroma that is reminiscent of football and fall-like conditions. But you’re not fooled. It’s not fall. The leaves are still green and still on the trees. This isn’t fall. There is no real hitting in this impostor of football that you are seeing. And the players, they just aren’t as into it. And where are the devoted fans? This isn’t football and it’s certainly not fall. No. This is a tease to get you t o let your guard down and, in the process, remind yourself of just how much you truly love fall. And upon this realization, you are saddened ever so slightly. It is not fall. So you press forward. And maybe that weekend, you wake up early on Saturday morning and roll over and are suddenly overjoyed with the thought that College Game Day is on. So you turn on the television, flip it over to ESPN and remember as you are met unceremoniously with replays of the 2006 World Series of Darts that no, this is not fall. So what do you do?

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You go about your weekend, every frivolous activity now having less meaning because, for a fleeting moment, you entertained the notion of watching actual football. Naturally, everything else pales in comparison. So maybe you don’t take it so well and you blow off helping that elderly couple with their landscaping project and then you dip out on your three-year-old daughter’s birthday party because life just has less meaning today than it could have.

But I am here to tell you, “Hey. It’s okay. I understand. I hurt too.” Why does that finicky fall have to be such a tease? But, because of her fickle nature, we are kindred spirits. We are now one in our desire to feel a cool October breeze drop the temperature about 10 degrees as we watch our favorite team punt it away on fourth-and-two from the 50. We will be there for one another then just as we are now. I know dear brother, there is an emptiness there right now. But take heart, football is coming and fall, that mercurial lass, will soon follow. In the interim, avoid ESPN, give that elderly couple a hand and, for the sake of goodness, go to your three-year-old daughter’s birthday party. Don’t have a three-year-old daughter? Someone does. Find them and go to that child’s party. Make sure to take a gift. Spread the love, because football is almost here.