This may be high school football's most exciting week of the season.
Sure, the playoffs are great, homecoming is always filled with ceremony and tradition, and regular season finales are just plain fun.
However, right now, every team in the region is undefeated. Every team has been practicing hard and pulling together for the 2011 campaign. Schools are opening their doors to a new year, bands are putting the finishing touches on their halftime shows and cheerleaders are getting ready to roll out their new routines.
The air is just beginning to feel cooler as the sun goes down as the daylight recedes into darkness just a little earlier each evening. No need for the heavy coat and socks for opening night, and you'll probably have the sun in your eyes at least through the first quarter.
Some interesting NASCAR news happened this week.
On the exciting side, Danica Patrick has announced that she'll leave IndyCar racing, opting for a full Nationwide Series schedule next year, plus a limited run in Sprint Cup. While NASCAR has been struggling through tough economic times, the attention and excitement Patrick will bring to the sport may be just the boost it needs.
And while you might not expect NASCAR's good ol' boys to roll out the red carpet for a racing woman, Danica commands respect, and has received it from some of the highest profile drivers in the sport. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the owner of her NNS car; she'll drive for Tony Stewart in Sprint Cup. Whether she can win in NASCAR remains to be seen, but her arrival will change the sport forever.
On the embarrassing side, Kyle Busch ironically had his driver's license revoked. He pled guilty to driving 80 miles per hour over the 45 mph speed limit and was sentenced to probation, a fine and loss of his license for a month and a half.
Busch is fortunate that he was stopped by a police officer rather than a tree or another vehicle, and that he didn't hurt himself or someone else with his reckless behavior. It's unfortunate that one of the sport's most talented drivers just can't seem to grow up.
But grow up is exactly what the boys from Clinton County did over the last few weeks, as they admirably represented their hometowns, families, state and nation in the Little League World Series. The Mid-Atlantic Champions handled the unprecedented attention with grace and sportsmanship. Their final heartbreaking loss to the eventual champions was tough to take.
Still, with tear stained faces, they tipped their hats to the thousands in the stands.
Kellie Goodman Shaffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears on Tuesdays.