The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

In a blog I wrote about a month ago titled “My Moment of Zen,” I mentioned that fall is my favorite time of the year. I wrote about leaves and changes and dresser drawers, but I glossed over something I particularly love about the fall.
In my humble opinion, autumn — most notably late October — is the best time of the year on the sports calendar.
As I write this on Tuesday afternoon, we are just hours away from the first pitch of the World Series. This year’s Fall Classic features the New York Mets against the Kansas City Royals. It’s a fun matchup with both teams sporting a lot of young talent. Admittedly, there are years I don’t care much about the series (Seriously, who needs to see the Yankees play the Cardinals? They’re in it every other year.) This is not one of those years.
The last time the Mets won the World Series was 1986. If there are any Boston Red Sox fans reading this, I’m sure you’ll remember that particular series well. The Royals, though they made the series just last year, haven’t won it since 1985. Knowing a team that hasn’t been crowned “World Champion” in 30 (or 29) years makes this year’s matchup a little more fun for me. That said, go Mets!
Not only is it World Series time, but football season is really heating up at all levels. In the NFL, late October is when we begin to see the contenders being separated from the pretenders. By this point — aside from perhaps a couple exceptions — we know what teams truly have a chance to make a run at the postseason and which ones might as well start thinking about the draft.
Of course, the fact that the Vikings are 4-2 and actually won a road division game last Sunday makes this year even more fun.
The same statement about contenders and pretenders can be said about teams in the college ranks. Now is the time in the year when we start to see the big rivalry games and a couple handful of teams will play do-or-die games each week as they jostle for a playoff spot. Each week there will be upsets (USC over Utah? Seriously?) and fantastic finishes (still not ready to talk about the Michigan vs. Michigan State ending, It’s too soon).
Finally, because of a one-year change in schedule, the last weekend in October marks the first round of the Minnesota state football tournaments. Three teams from the Daily Globe coverage area — Pipestone Area, Jackson County Central and Tracy-Milroy-Balaton — will begin their quest for a state title this weekend. The pressure and intensity mounts with each week. It’s a lot of fun.
Take all of that and throw in plenty more high school state competition, the beginning of basketball and hockey seasons at all levels, the Chase for the Cup in NASCAR and the nearing of hunting season, it’s hard to deny what a great time of year this really is. No matter what your preferred activity is, enjoy. Odds are the next few weeks are going to be fun.

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