On Friday night, we will once again mark the autumnal equinox, officially kicking off the most beautiful season in much of the United States (and the first day of Spring for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere).
Not only does Fall mean changing leaves and a crispness in the air, but it is high tide for Pop Culture. The new season begins on television; prestige movies fill the theaters; the King of American sports eclipses events that would rule any other time of the year; the 2012 election moves into a matter of months; bands try to cash in on the iTunes gift certificate redemption season. Three months of Fall normally hold more goodies than the other three seasons combined.
So this week, we’ll examine the menu and whet our appetite for what’s to come.
The definition of sport’s strongest season is very much in the eye of the beholder. Even if you’re a big sports fan, there’re undoubtedly sports that you care more about than others. But it would be hard to argue against Fall. The NFL and College Football Regular Seasons. The Baseball Playoffs. The Start of the Hockey and Basketball Seasons (at least, most years). It’s the only time of year in which all four major sports are in season, plus watching sports becomes a stronger option with every dip in the temperature.
Let’s break down what we should be looking for this Fall.
We’re still in the honeymoon part of the season. There’s time for most fan bases to talk themselves into a path to the playoffs (sorry, K.C. and Indy). There’s time for most fantasy teams to be a lucky break away from greatness (sorry, Mike Collins). We don’t have the Cult of Peyton Manning ruining our Sundays. It’s a glorious time.
OMG… will Texas and Oklahoma jump to the Pac-16, and will the Big East survive, and ZZZZZZZZZZ.
Sometime during the Rugby World Cup, one of your friends will talk about how nice it is to finally be able to see some rugby or ask out of nowhere if you saw the ending to the Samoa-Romania match. You are legally obligated to punch him.
David Stern’s biggest test. The players are as unreasonable as the Republican House. The owners would rather lose the season than play under the current rules. This comes on the heels of the most exciting season in recent memory, with a ton of stars in their prime. Nobody really starts paying attention until after the New Year, but it doesn’t look good.
Gary Bettman’s biggest test. After almost 20 years of driving professional hockey into the ground, he finally has the wind at his back. Major markets regenerated, fan excitement up, no more Canada/U.S. monetary disparity (sigh). His biggest competition is about to commit suicide. He’s still the commissioner though, so it doesn’t look good.
A big market team will win the World Series. The average game will be over four hours. The players will look ridiculous as they try to stay warm in November. But nobody will be paying attention because the jewel of the baseball schedule, the World Cup, is scheduled for the same time.
The Davis Cup finals… oh wait. I forgot I was American… never mind.