The trees are shedding, the sod is crunchy, the air is crisp, sometimes cold.
It is the season of gathering.
Now through December — in communities small and large — folks will gather together in thanks and appreciation for all they’ve been given.
Hungry for the seasonal bounty of Thanksgiving, yes. But also for the seasonal bounty of football. For casseroles, cobblers, turkeys and trimmings. And for region champs, underdogs, tailgates and trophies.
The holidays and high school playoffs have arrived. The season of gathering is upon us.
Select stadiums, in rapidly diminishing quantities, are serving up well-seasoned teams in high-stakes games. And the crowds gather…
They gather ’round brackets on web sites and print, plotting their next month of Friday Night Lights. Hungry.
They gather in field house conference room chairs, burning the midnight oil, HUDL screens and whiteboards at hand. Hungry.
They gather in position rooms watching their film, correcting, perfecting their skill sets each day. Hungry.
They gather on practice fields in cold gear and sleeves, sweating through fundys and scout team and reps. Hungry.
They gather in pass gate and ticket booth lines, wrapping ’round buildings and down city streets. Hungry.
They gather on bleachers in gloves, scarves, and hats, fueled with concessions and love for their team. Hungry.
They gather in student sections, dressed for a theme, painted and cheering, 12th man on each play. Hungry.
They gather in marching band sectional rows, percussion and woodwinds, plus brass and the guard. Hungry.
They gather for tumbling runs, pyramids, cheers, with megaphones, pompoms and sideline school spirit. Hungry.
They gather in tunnels, behind hand-painted signs, with big-game jerseys and game faces on. Hungry.
They gather on the fifty with officials in stripes, silver coin flipping through energized air. Hungry.
They gather with coaches for some last-minute love… some fist-bumping, chest-thumping last-minute love. Hungry.
And then, finally. Finally the game buzzer sounds.
And finally, the glittering helmets — the waxed fruit of autumn — spill onto the field into kickoff formation beneath the gleaming-hot Friday Night Lights and the crowd holds its collective breath. Hungry.
Yes, the holidays and playoffs have arrived. The season of gathering is upon us.
May the coin toss be ever in our favor. May we all stay healthy. And may we all stay Hungry.
(feature photo cred: Cathy Sharpe)