There was a taste of fall in the air Friday morning.
The streets were wet from drizzle that filled the damp morning air as I drove my son to school.
Outside, the temperatures were lower than typical, and the trees in the area seemed to be telling me that summer's golden hour has faded into another season. Sure, it warmed up later in the day, but that morning was a firm reminder that autumn is just around the corner.
It was almost as though Mother Nature knew that Friday night was the first home football game of the season for Steamboat Springs High School.
There is something about the first football game that is exciting and sad at the same time.
On one hand, you can feel the excitement of the fans and players as they anticipate a new season on the gridiron. It's a chance to pull out the stadium blankets, grab a cup of hot chocolate from the snack stand and enjoy one of America's favorite pastimes.
On the other hand, football unofficially marks the end of summer in the Yampa Valley.
No more summer baseball tournaments, no more Thursday night softball games or Wednesday evening mountain bike races.
In the next few weeks, the summer sports will come to a close, and our thoughts will turn to getting our gear and bodies ready for ski season.
Don't get me wrong -- I think that fall in Steamboat Springs is one of the best times of the year.
Things slow down a bit in town. There is more time to take care of all the things we didn't get done around the house this summer, and high school events dominate the sports schedule.
But the first high school football game reminds me of those grade-school days when the ring of a school bell called us all back to class from recess.
A few weeks from now, a Steamboat Springs home football game will seem like an old routine. It will be as natural as brushing your teeth each morning or driving to work.
But Friday's game, like every first home football game of the season, is a bit of seasonal shock.
Yes, there was a taste of fall in the air Friday. But it didn't have anything to do with the wet streets or the cool morning. No, fall in Steamboat, and in most places across the country, revolves around football.
It's the time of the year when everybody gets behind his or her favorite team -- whether it's a high school team or one in the National Football League -- and leaves the days of summer behind.
Sure I'm going to miss those high temperatures, but I can't help but get excited for the start of a new football season.
-- To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org