Fantasy football drafts. Tailgating. Running your mouth. There are many great aspects to this narrow season between face-melting heat and bone-chilling cold called we call Autumn.
In many ways sports come to mind when mentally tallying the good things about fall. What Thanksgiving would be complete without you and your weakarmed relatives throwing wobbly passes back and forth in the yard?
I remember when my parents made me go to church. It felt like someone died. When for one reason or another I no longer had to attend church and was able to watch football from noon to dinnertime again, I felt as if I had truly been saved.
Football season has more of a grip on most Cincinnatians than baseball or any other sport because football has more influence on how one’s weekend is spent. If the Bengals are in town and you feel like going, then a Mardi Gras-like spectacle of beer drinking and rowdiness awaits you. If this isn’t the case it’s still quite easy to slide on over to a pal’s house who doesn’t have a Poor People Television and enjoy the games.
We have much debt to pay to the dorks who invented fantasy football. While leagues formed with friends are a good time, the work league is the best thing ever invented aside from Q-Tips. Being able to talk shit to your boss and coworkers incessantly is a blessing we should be truly thankful for.
If high school football isn’t your cup of tea, and you’re not sure why there has to be SportsCenter-like coverage of teenagers’ athletic contests, then there is still hope for you.
If like me you couldn’t care less about Friday Night Lights, then it is important to identify the offending party’s favorite high school team. Step 2 involves knowing when said team loses and asking the fan why they lost and what the score was a few times each day.
“Hey Ted, Elder sure got the shit kicked out of ’em last Friday, huh?” Definitely worth whatever physical attacks may come as a result.
Football in America has become a quasi-religious event, with ritualized behavior undertaken by its fans. It’s like being able to go to church in your boxers and piling Miller Lite cans across the coffee table.
Sure, there are Tea Party sorts who talk about “not giving Paul Brown any more of my money,” but they are mostly malcontents who are mad that when they did go to Bengals games they had to sit up in the Poor People Seats and never had a girlfriend to take.
Although the NFL Kickoff Special’s preseason concert featuring the Black Eyed Peas and Tim McGraw made me contemplate what I’d really be missing out on if I was deaf, it was a welcome sight nonetheless. The NFL’s return so reliably provides entertainment that it’s no wonder America doesn’t get much done on Sundays other than ordering pizza and maybe shaving.
College football effectively blocks out Saturday as well. The Bearcats are actually good now and will contend for the forseeable future. This is a far cry from when going to a UC game was an intimate gathering of you and two to three thousand others.
The program is deservedly getting attention, piling up wins and playing football that seems too smooth to be in Cincinnati. The Bearcats’ nationally televised whipping of Rutgers Sept. 7 was an ominous sign to the rest of the Big East. Brian Kelly has won at least 10 games and earned Big East coach of the year honors his first two years here. Why shouldn’t it happen again?
And after so many demoralizing years of Bengals football, the Bearcats’ emergence is a pleasant surprise. If the Bengals get out of the gate decently and contend for a playoff spot, that’d be an even bigger, more pleasant surprise. Some might settle for simply never having to hear the words “Chad Ochocinco” and “Twitter” in the same sentence again.
Xavier fans are free to watch Bearcat games and cheer for them too, since their university doesn’t have a football team because players get grass stains all over them and sometimes bleed and that’s just nasty.
While there is more to the magical season of Fall, the simple pleasures of the sports world are more than enough for me. Knowing I’ll be able to enjoy the company of my friends, pizza parties and the turning of the leaves really helps ease the transition into the black-skied, bone-chilling mornings that lie just ahead. �