Fall is the cultural new year. It is when things change. There are new grades, schools and campuses to adjust, the fresh, vibrant colors of leaves , and the air is refreshed into a cool dew.
It is officially here. When the fall equinox hits, and the sun shines directly on the equator, day and night being equal lengths. Soon we will lose an hour of daylight, and begin the transition. This is when our complaints change from “too hot”, to “can’t wait until” warm weather wishes. As we begin to change our wardrobe, loyalties are in full display by the legions of football fans, who splash cities and towns with their team’s colors. While January is the official new year, September is the cultural new year – and the holiday, the highlight of this new year celebration is football. If fall is about change, then this year, football, maybe later, but it’s right on time. One change that at least half of the country wants to see, politically, may or may not happen in November. On the field a lot has changed since last fall.
There are 10 black quarterbacks that started the first week of the National Football League season, while 2 black quarterbacks are leading teams in 2020, in a league that is 70% black, if you’re counting. After a summer of protests, destruction and some related legislation, football is as many have often said, bringing Americans together. It helps, even as Kansas City Chief’s fans booed protesting football players as they locked arms and knelt. Both earnestly, we want to believe, exercising their First Amendment rights. Even the collegiate level has reversed course, with the BIG 10 Conference set to begin college football in October, after initially pausing the season, due to the pandemic.
There is something military like, with each team clad in armor, helmet and lead by generals. Americans love a good fight, and football is the closest we can get to actually watching war. The hitting, end zone, strategy and line of scrimmage a commercially viable simulation of the battlefield. This is why the game is so intense and welcomes such a broad range of fans. It’s like they’re fighting for you, the home team. Still, no fans this season for the studious or the pros, who can look forward to innovative new turf and grass homes for these battles.
SoFi Stadium, a new state of the art facility for the Los Angeles Rams will be featured next year, while the Las Vegas Raiders will also have to postpone their grand opening. Tom Brady is now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, his first season outside of a New England Patriots uniform since his rookie year, when George W. Bush and Al Gore squared off for the Presidency in 2000, and before the September 11 tragedy. It is interesting to note that football is the only season that hasn’t had a major COVID-19 interruption, the NFL at least. It must be favored. With all of the controversy with professional sports, from stadium deals to politics stands, it does appear that this year, football is helping people, at least for a few hours on Sunday forget about the many disturbing news headlines.
This year just may put what is already considered America’s new pastime, into a special place in American life. A Super Bowl holiday perhaps, for our troubles?
Each Sunday as Americans attend church, shop, sleep and do laundry, it is with anticipation, a prelude to the game we all love.