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October is the heart of the fall sports season

I saw a poster the other day that said, “My favorite color is October,” a reminder of how much I love this time of year.

It’s not just the trees turning beautiful colors, or the vibrant mums and rustic cornstalks that seem to decorate every corner of our communities. And it’s more than the air turning a little brisker and the stars shining a little brighter as the sun sets earlier and earlier each evening.

October is more than a month: it’s a feeling, almost a season in itself; it’s even the description of a certain brand of baseball player.

October is the heart of the fall sports seasons, marked by homecoming festivities and heated rivalries, which by mid-schedule make every outing even more important than the one before.

Traditions abound, with spirit weeks and homecoming parades: dazzling displays of school and community pride. A new generation of teenagers dress up for sporting events and fall dances just as their parents and grandparents before them, a reminder that with all of today’s progress, some customs stand the test of time.

Sports stars from years gone by are spotted on the sidelines, bringing back memories of not-so-distant glory days, while a new generation of athletes create a legacy of their own.

The novelty of the new school year is gone; athletes and teams have settled into their routine both in the classroom and in competition; the most successful programs and individuals gaining confidence and reaching toward goals that seem more achievable with every passing day.

Undefeated teams stay focused, trying to stay perfect; while athletes and coaches work harder, and work together, and growing closer to one another each week.

It starts to feel like sweatshirt and blanket weather, making for cool and comfortable evenings for spectators climbing the bleachers for a football game or soccer match, the stadium lights making everything look crisp and new in their glow after spectacular sunsets. It’s almost time to start making hot chocolate in the concession stands.

Baseball’s best gear up for their reason for the season, sights set on the World Championship; when America’s attention turns back to the diamond after a long, hot summer. No matter who your home team may be, pick someone still in the hunt, jump on the bandwagon and enjoy the ride.

NASCAR’s Monster Energy Cup Series is down to a dozen drivers still in the hunt, with just seven races remaining to crown a champion and head home for the holidays. Tempers will flare as futures are decided over October racing weekends in Dover, Talladega, Kansas and Martinsville.

Soon the leaves will fall, and the snowflakes will fly, but for the next few weeks, the scenery is beautiful and the sports are even better.

Kellie Goodman Shaffer can be reached at kellie@bedfordcountychamber.org. Her

column appears on Tuesdays.

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