Refreshing attitude rings in season

Published 8:29 am Friday, August 21, 2009

Many people know that autumn is my favorite season. There are several reasons, which date back to when I was a child. My favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, is in autumn. Hey, any holiday that is about stuffing your face is OK with me.

Autumn is also the most colorful time of the year, and the temperatures are beginning to cool. It’s a great time for outdoor activities.

Football is always a huge part of fall and has been for me ever since I started writing sports back in 1985. Perhaps this August, more than any other, I have seen the joy in the local high school coaches whose teams are all 0-0 as they once again opened training camps.

Despite the sweltering heat, several coaches told me they couldn’t think of any other place they wanted to be.

When you talk about coaches who have been at it for many years — fixtures such as Dale Marks at Southampton Academy, Dale Chapman at Isle of Wight Academy, and Littleton Parker at Southampton High (the dean of area coaches) — it’s that more amazing.

What a refreshing attitude from a sport that has recently given us the likes of Terrell Owens, Michael Vick and Chad Johnson and questionable coaches like Bill Belichick.

One thing I respect about the local head football coaches is not only do they care about winning but also about the welfare of their student athletes. Having talked to and interacted with these coaches over the last three years (yes, this will be my fourth football season at The Tidewater News), I can honestly say I feel they have the students’ best interest in mind.

This isn’t always the case with all coaches, and I have witnessed contrary behavior at times in other places that I have worked.

The Internet prognosticators are already out in full force with pre-season polls as to who will be the stronger teams.

As I look at this year’s schedule, there are already some intriguing matchups. Here is a list of the games that I would like to see this year:

Aug. 28 — Isle of Wight Academy at Catholic High School

Sept. 11 — Southampton at Franklin

Sept. 18 — Windsor at Southampton

Oct. 1— Franklin at West Point

Oct. 23 — Blessed Sacrament Huguenot at Isle of Wight Academy

Nov. 6 — Franklin at Sussex Central

Nov. 6 — Greensville at Southampton

Last year, high school football went the distance for me as Franklin High School went all the way to the Group A Division 1 championship game.

Whether or not the Western Tidewater area has a champion, these teams are all worthy of your positive support.

A final thought about autumn — many people don’t like autumn because it is the lead-in to winter, when everything is cold and drab. But another reason for me being excited about autumn this year is that I begin a new life in November. Stay tuned . . .