Even though early September is one of my least favorite times of the year because of its excess baggage -- falling leaves that will need raked and cold weather right around the corner -- it is also a time that should be celebrated.
The edge of autumn also brings with it one of our nation's most glorious holidays: Football Season.
In my lifetime, I have seen Football Season rise to a level of importance for most men that is equaled only by births of children (at least a first-born) and a new flat screen television.
I can remember the Dark Ages -- before the old AFL and NFL merged -- when pro football was simply not that big of a deal, and college football was little more than something that Keith Jackson talked about on Saturday afternoons on ABC.
But now? Did you notice the trumpets blaring and the angelic voices emerging from the skies when college football returned over the weekend? And this weekend starts the average man's six-month love affair with the NFL. Yes, a six-month holiday.
Seriously, can you beat that?
Valentine's Day? Nah. Thanksgiving? Well, that's kind of a weekend deal, but it's still not a six-month holiday. (And come Thanksgiving, what are we going to be most thankful for? Those three NFL games and handful of college games that day and night that pay a weekend-long homage to football and overeating.)
Over the past 40 years, television -- network, cable and satellite -- has combined to turn even those with the hint of an interest in sports into weekend lemmings when it comes to football.
Most weekends from September through the Super Bowl, which is now played in February, find most Alpha males spending Thursday evening through Monday Night Football glued to both their recliner and that aforementioned flat-screen television.
During most of my adult life, football had always been No. 2 or No. 3 in my viewing habits. It always ranked behind baseball and, for the past decade, "American Idol."
But I have noticed my viewing desires changing in recent years, especially this year. When the first of August rolled around, I started a sort of mental countdown until my favorite college team, the scandal-ridden Ohio State Buckeyes, would again take the field. Saturday afternoon was exciting in the mancave, sitting back and watching Ohio State dismantle woefully undermanned Akron 42-0. (Another thing about football fans is that we all love being on the top side of a big-time beatdown. Crushing an opponent 6-0 in baseball does not pack the same kind of wallop as destroying a football foe 42-0. It also makes you want to talk like a pirate. There were a lot of "arrgghhs" heard in the mancave during that 42-0 win.)
I think it's the non-stop action of football that is so attractive to its audience. As big of a baseball fan as I am, I fully realize it's quite easy to work in a siesta during your average nine-inning game and not really miss a whole lot. Watching football, however, is a lot like those old 1960s "Batman" television shows. Pow! Bam! Smack!
Another byproduct of watching football is with all of the energy you put it into openly cheering for "your" team, and with all the testosterone that is flowing, your appetite automatically grows-- which requires ordering pizza at least once during most games.
Is there any better combination of a good time than sports, junk food and ... a flat-screen television? That, friends is the definition of a holiday, a six-month holiday.