Some general observations as high school football playoffs rev up and winter sports are on the horizon:
High school football playoffs are underway, and with it, toned-down student sections across the state. Understandably, there needs to be consistent rules throughout the playoffs to ensure equality and fairness.
However, an inevitable byproduct of some of those restrictions is a loss of some of the pageantry that makes high school football so great.
The PIAA does not allow balloons, sirens or whistles during playoff games.
They also limit cheerleader stunts, pyramids, and flips, as well as times when the bands can perform.
The goal is to minimize injury and distractions, while keeping a level playing field, and that is important and even admirable.
Still, there's something special about walking into a big high school football game and seeing the extra decorations, ala homecoming or senior night, hearing dueling bands, seeing cheerleaders soaring into the air, and watching crazy adolescent fans with their body paint and cowbells.
Best of luck to all of the playoff teams still standing!
While there is still lots of exciting high school football to be had, it's also time to start thinking about winter sports, and hopes are high in Happy Valley as Coquese Washington begins her fourth season as head coach of the women's basketball squad.
This weekend, the Lady Lions faced Rider in exhibition action, posting 95 points and holding their opponent to a record-low 21. Certainly, they haven't faced the best the Big Ten has to offer, but the squad is taking on the characteristics of Coquese more and more, and with another solid recruiting class the NCAA playoffs can't be far away.
Hopefully, the Lady Lions will be able to do some dancing this spring.
Across campus at Rec Hall, national dominance seems to be just a matter of time as the Penn State wrestling team is getting ready for its second season under Cael Sanderson.
The Nittany Lions are currently ranked sixth in the nation, and drew more than 5,000 fans for the season opener against cross-state rival Lehigh over the weekend. With five freshman winners in the 21-17 win, the future looks bright for the program, not only this season but in years to come.
There should be some great action even before conference competition starts, with the Sprawl and Brawl Duals at Binghamton, the Nittany Lion Open, and the backyard brawl with Lock Haven, all before Ohio State comes to Rec Hall December 19th.
Just one race remains in NASCAR's Chase for the Championship.
All eyes will be on Homestead this Sunday with the title very much up for grabs. Denny Hamlin holds the lead, but barely: Jimmy Johnson is just 15 points back, and Kevin Harvick is within striking distance.
The race should be everything the Chase organizers had hoped for with the title decided on the last laps of the last race of the season.
Kellie Goodman Shaffer can be reached at Kellie@BedfordCountyChamber.org. Her column appears on Tuesdays.