Lance Scranton: Fall colors; football division

Lance Scranton
Courtesy photo

We took a trip up to the mountains Sunday to get a look at the foliage before the leaves fall entirely off the trees and snow covers the ground. It’s been a long time since we took the time to just take a drive for no other reason than to appreciate what nature does before lowering the temperature and blanketing our part of the state in a winter wonderland.

When our children were young, we would head out to Freeman Reservoir to celebrate fall birthdays, the kids would run around and we would enjoy the afternoon. But kids grow up and get busy with things other than autumn colors. As I think about what used to make up a regular Sunday for my family and me, it seems things have changed. We still go to church and generally stop by a local store for lunch and eat together. We used to sit around and watch football.

It’s become a little more difficult to gather everyone around the same television anymore, and football has gotten way too political for my taste. I still watch with particular interest the amazing feats of athletic ability on display by some of the world’s best athletes. Far from the escape that watching football used to be are the constant interruptions by players who feel compelled to raise a fist or get down on a knee. They have every right to do so, but I just wish that the game could continue to be just that — a game that regular people watch to be amazed by people who do things of which we can only dream.

Football games were aspirational; players were motivational. Games were a quest in which the plot lines were played out between the 20 yard lines, and the red zone offered the turning points of missed passes, great catches, field goals made or missed and extra points that sometimes decided the game. Every contest was important, because, unlike other sports, there weren’t 65 more games left to play.

I still debate friends about who had a better game or what play was the worst of the week, but now, I have friends who don’t even watch anymore. One of the things that used to bring us all together as fans now seems to divide many of us.

Our flag still flies in all its glory at our football stadiums, and I can’t help but wish that, just as fall turns into winter, a gentle peace could fall over our sporting events, children could excitedly wear their favorite jerseys and fans could enjoy the spectacle of sports once again.

To borrow from Shakespeare:

Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair NFL stadiums, where we lay our scene; From anthem grudge, breaks new protests,
Where uncivil acts, make patriots detest;
from forth the fatal knee of some misguided athlete, too many fans will flee.

Lance Scranton is a teacher and coach at Moffat County High School.

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