Why is football a fall sport if it begins in the summer?

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By John Shindlebower

Americans seem to have trouble with their seasons anymore. The calendar is pretty clear as to when the four seasons begin, but we always seem to be in a rush.

Take summer for instance, the calendar suggests that it always begins in the third week of June. But we Americans start summer on Memorial Day.

Technically, summer ends in the third week of September, but we Americans close down the pools on or before Labor Day, sometimes three full weeks before the season is really over.

I got to thinking about that the other day when I was looking at the ‘fall’ sports schedules for Spencer County High School. Growing up, football was always considered a fall sport. It was a game to be played on a field littered with fallen leaves and on brisk autumn evenings when sweaters and hot chocolate filled the stands.

But a glance at the Bears schedule this year reveals that half the season’s games will be played while it’s still summer on the calendar. The boys and girls soccer teams will play three-fourths of their schedules before the fall equinox. The same holds true for volleyball, which is also considered a ‘fall’ sport.

Of course, school used to start after the state fair and after Labor Day and that’s simply no longer the case. Also impacting the earlier schedules for sports is the postseason, which, especially in football, requires several weeks of playoff games leading up to the championship games. Last year the state football titles were claimed the first weekend in December.

I mention that only as a reminder that we can’t wait until the leaves begin to turn or the chill starts to accompany the evening air to get ready for football and the other sports. The time is now and the season begins next Friday night when the Bears will host East Jessamine at 7:30.

Since its inception in Spencer County seven years ago, high school football has been a wonderful way for the community to congregate. Some of the biggest gatherings in the county occur on Friday nights at the high school and hopefully this year will be no different.

I moved to Spencer County in January of 2003, and I’ve never known an autumn (or summer) without football here. It took a lot of work from so many parents and people in the community who had a dream to field a high school team, but I can’t imagine anyone wanting to return to the days before football in Taylorsville.

But don’t let your enthusiasm for sports be limited to football. There are scores of other young people working hard in the August heat to prepare for their upcoming seasons.

In an effort to shed some weight, I’ve taken up bike riding and I’ve seen most of the teams out working hard. While pedaling through the state park a couple of weeks ago, Coach Talley had his cross country team running through the woods and over the steep terrain. Down at Ray Jewell Park and at Taylorsville Elementary School, Chris and Stephanie Price had the boys’ and girls’ soccer teams hard at work preparing for their upcoming seasons. At the high school, the boys were sweating it out on the football practice field and inside the gym, the volleyball team was working equally hard. There’s also the golf team who will tee it off soon and don’t forget the hard work put in by the band, dance team, cheerleaders and all the others that make the high school sports atmosphere complete.

Summer is nowhere near over, but fall sports are upon us. Leave the sweater at home, come out to the games that start next week (the volleyball team actually started their season this week) and support the young people who have been working hard all summer.

Once you start supporting our local high school sports, it might be habit forming. If so, remember that the winter sport of basketball will actually begin in the fall, and the summer sports of baseball and softball will begin in late winter. We know it’s confusing, but we’ll try to keep you informed.