It Feels Like Football, Rich Paschall
While many consider the Labor Day weekend (which includes the first Monday of September) to be the beginning of Fall, others think of it as the last gasp of summer. I prefer to think of it along the lines of the later. That was much easier this year as that three-day stretch was among the hottest days we have had here in the Midwest all year.
Rushing the seasons is not on my list of things to do. In fact, in a great upper Midwest tradition, I prefer to hang on to summer as long as possible. After all, the season here is not long enough as it is. Anyone who has been freezing in the upper deck of Wrigley Field in mid June will understand this completely. We need our summer.
Those walking down the avenue in October and finding people in shorts and flip-flops will realize our desperate desire for a longer season of warmth. We do not give up on the idea until the snow flies, which sometimes happens before Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday in November). You have celebrated Thanksgiving in the snow, haven’t you? No? You live too far south.
Let the autumn come as it should, I guess, with the autumnal equinox (or the vernal equinox for you Latin scholars). This is the time when the sun appears directly overhead at the equator in its trip southward. You know the equator, it is that line around the center of your globe. You do have a globe, don’t you?
The sun is at it furthest point north on the first day of summer. From there it is all downhill, or southward anyway. When it crosses the centerline, this year on the 23rd of September, we reach autumn while the southern half of the earth begins the Springtime. It is a unique astrological story that has the sun seem to move north to south and then back again when the sun really does not moves at all. It just stays in one spot and burns people where its rays are strongest. I would attempt to explain that apparent movement of the sun to you, but I will leave that to your astronomy professor. You do have an astronomy professor, don’t you? No, I do not mean your astrologist.
Each season has taken on a unique feel to me. Winter is our indoor season, from the holidays to the spring. We watch sports, read books and when the need arises, we shovel snow. There are plenty of indoor activities to take up the time, whether you are a “homebody” or someone who likes to get out and enjoy your sports and entertainment away from home.
Spring feels like renewal. It burst with a new energy that the return of our greenery brings. Getting out and cleaning up the yard and “organizing the garden” is a joyous ritual. I say organizing the garden because it has a life of its own. I plant very little, but rather move things around and pull up the unwanted visitors (weeds). Some “volunteer” plants appear in such numbers that some must be asked to leave to make room for the others.
Summer feels like baseball. If you were in a city with two major league teams and surrounded by a few minor league teams within a short drive, you would understand this completely. We long for the days when we can attend a baseball game and not have to wear a jacket (or winter coat). We watch baseball at home, at sports bars and restaurants, at various social events. Yes, it is still the national pastime.
Autumn feels like football. It is not because the National Football League is back in action. For me, it is something more than that. For decades it meant that it was time to get out the football and go to the park. For a few years as a kid it was tackle football in a league, but for decades it was pick up games with friends in the park. These were touch games rather than tackle, although our exuberance may have made the touching a little more “enthusiastic” some weeks. I loved this feeling more than the others. When I walk outside, feel the autumn air and see the leaves change color, and later fall to earth, I think of football.
What does the autumn “feel” like to you? Does the change of season have a special feeling to you? Does the Fall weather invoke anything inside your memory banks? Comment below, then pump up the football and gather up the gang for a game of two hand tag in the park.