Well, Fall is here. Maybe not officially according to the calendar but it’s here. Comforters have been pulled out of closets for cooler, more snug nights (Cricket the Blind knows our only one well),
long sleeves and hoodies are back in vogue in the evenings and breezes have a different feel and smell to them…oh, and Soylant Gre … Pumpkin Spice has forced its annual self back onto the menu…every fucking menu in the civilized world … (maybe even in some of the remotest of corner’s spots where pointy sticks are the utmost in technology, status and defense, insidious spice thing that it is). And if any of you sci-fi geekilly inclined (and I count myself among you) say “He who controls the spice…” I’ll brain ya with a headless horseman-like pumpkin as you savor your last taste of that nasty little latte concoction of yours while I threaten to actually send you into two different fictions.
We all have our own little indicators of the knowing of Fall’s arrival. Mom’s and Dad’s of the school aged for instance? They’re back in school now so it’s a return to routine. Or, it could be a new indicator as your little one gets on the bus for the first time, fearful, but for only one day and your tears for them only have to last until tomorrow. It’s Fall. Maybe for the teachers of said? YOU’RE back in school now as well and it’s back to YOUR routine as you cry a little inside at another Summer passed. It’s Fall. It could be for those in retail. Well, shit, you probably got your indicator back in July, in that company wide email reminder of the changing out of the floor sets early, as it’s impossible for consumerism to actually let us enjoy time as it happens on it’s own without ruining it.
But really, it’s that simple breeze, with the different feel and smell, the looking into a pre dusk sky that seems a little heavier or maybe the sounds of insects and birds getting on page, that tells all of us all we need to know of Fall’s arrival.
For me? My indicator? I would love to say that it’s the daily excitement of end of year, post-season hunt Baseball but I’m not a Yankees fan. That fall indicator for me, as a Pirate’s fan, came early this year, as it often does, just after the All Star break when there was hope for a moment but was quickly dashed and followed instead by another collapse (though I still watch as a FrankenBucco fan does what a FrankenBucco fan does). They are playing better of late at least, so there is that. Grab that batting title Bryan Reynolds!
No, my indicator comes when I’m standing on the sidelines, headset on with a local TV broadcast’s behind the scenes controlled chaos in my left ear amid the din of a crowd of my first High School Football game of the season. It’s also my first reminder of the also headsetted pacing, pacing, furrowed brow intense coach’s sideline masters of the obvious pacing talk-yell / play call / hand cupped shouts / exasperated waved arm-hand gestures to anyone in the room who will listen about any perceived zebra slights. It makes me smile.
I just wander and wonder the sidelines, keeping in line with the game’s action, with the anonymity of my parabolic mic to shield me while I listen to…
“Watch the Ball!” – as opposed to just what else a player might be doing while playing a game where “ball” is kind of in the name. Though, I could see maybe being thrown off by the something shiny of #23’s gold heels. Fancy.
“Run, Run, Run!” always right in the middle of a running play that has already been run.
“Pass, Pass, Pass!” the same.
“SNEAK!” from the player behind me as the quarterback was already done with his first down push. More of a football pavlovian thing, I guess, than anything else for a kid who was seemingly a little late to the party on the on field action, maybe his attention caught by those gold heels of #23 for a moment.
“Stay in your lane”
“Watch your man”
“Your job is your job, their job is their job”
“Eyes on the prize”
“Ignore your mom taking pictures”
… and watch two grown men, coaches, jawing back and forth with a kid from the opposing team, all of 17 maybe, who I sided with simply because he held his ground with supposed adults, but mostly because he was wearing #42. He knows the answer.
This is my indicator. Drama. Rivalries. Serious silliness or silly seriousness. Cool air Friday Night Lights.
I was never a Friday Night Lights kinda guy in High School, couldn’t have given a shit really. I played baseball in town leagues after making then quitting the High School team to work a job in a local grocery store. Football was not in the scope. The rivalry between Mahopac and Carmel Football back then? Whatever. Overturned cars or not.
But for me, what started as just a few extra, always needed bucks, walking the sidelines for these last 10 plus years or so has had me come to understand and appreciate the community that football inspires on these Fridays, of kids in their own section, painted, colored dressed, cool shades, ingenious signs or not so ingenious ones, sometimes even with full bands while they scream a lung within the comfort of their crew, the cliche’d but tried and true heartfelt chants, football staples and their Mom’s and Dad’s, though not painted the same, but equally adorned in the right colors chanting along with them is something that I applaud. More smiles.
It’s a pretty good indicator for me, even with the impending doom of winter, that, yeah, Fall is here.