Saturday, August 24, 2002
Steamboat Springs Someone was trying to send me a message the other night.
I realized it about halfway through the first inning as I stood a few feet from third base playing softball in a driving rain.
By the time my team registered three outs, I was soaked from head to toe and ready for the softball season and summer to come to an end.
There are other signs that summer is over, too.
The sun is setting a little earlier, the evenings feel a little cooler and the first high school football game will take place at Gardner Field this Friday night.
Nothing, and I mean nothing, drives the realization that fall has arrived more than the first high school game of the season.
I'm not sure what it is.
It could be the unnatural glow of the stadium lights, maybe it's the aroma of hot dogs drifting through the night air leading the way back to the concession stand, or it could be the bone-crushing sound of a helmet slamming into pads for the first time of the year.
After years of covering high school sports, I still don't know what it is about football that rings in a new season but for me it always does.
But it's not only football. Cross country, volleyball and soccer have the same effect to a lesser degree. High school tennis and golf can also be a chilly reminder that summer is over.
Fall is a time filled with excitement. It seems like just 11 weeks ago high school athletes were battling for the fastest times at the state track meet. But this month a new class of seniors will experience these sports (at the high school level) one last time. Meanwhile, a new class of freshman will experience high school sports for the first time.
It's the cycle of high school sports in Steamboat Springs a cycle that teaches young students the basics of the game, a little bit about life and a lifelong love of sports.
At times over the course of the year it will seem like the goal of high school sports is to win games or state titles.
But the truth is that the ideas promoted by high school sports are much more meaningful.