You Know It’s Fall When…

by Anna Cavallo

The calendar may say we officially have another week and a half of summer, but this year–at least in Minnesota–fall followed the cultural schedule and dutifully came with Labor Day weekend. The days are mild, the nights are suddenly chilly. Thanks to an early spring and a wet summer, we are enjoying locally grown apples a couple weeks earlier than usual. The office is busy as we push to get the season’s projects into production. Families everywhere are busy as kids and teachers go back to school. I’m clearing my schedule for the season premiere of Glee. (September 21, FYI.)

And this week, football fans everywhere got excited for the first NFL games of the fall. Around here, the excitement was in anticipation of Thursday’s big Vikings-Saints game, a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship game. Minnesotans warmly welcomed back QB Brett Favre for a second year in purple. Hopes are high for another chance at the conference title and the Super Bowl. (As a more conflicted Brett fan (read: native Wisconsinite), I find it perplexing that people seem to have collectively forgotten his role in last season’s heartbreak. But maybe his thrilling, successful season was enough to forgive an untimely interception.) Anyway, I understand the enthusiasm Favre generates. The man loves football. And you can’t watch him play a halfway decent game without knowing how much fun he’s having. The forty-year-old still looks like a carefree boy when he’s running down the field, celebrating. You want to celebrate with him.

Oh, and he has a pretty good arm, too. And maybe a record-breaking career to back him up.

He even provides free drama in the off-season! What would we football fans DO in the summer if we couldn’t speculate on his potential return/retirement? But I digress.

Thursday Favre was up against the Saints’ QB Drew Brees, almost ten years his junior. Brees set multiple Big Ten records in college. Though he has yet to amass Favre’s NFL legacy, he does hold a Super Bowl ring from last season and the record for most completions in a Super Bowl (or, half of it, shared with Tom Brady). He captured many hearts when he held his young son while savoring the championship victory.

And he has relatively young muscles and joints. Give him time.

If you know young fans who sport #4 or #9 jerseys, make sure they know there are ways to get into football season and honor their favorites other than by playing Madden video games. Direct them to Lerner’s Amazing Athletes books on Brett Favre and Drew Brees, which feature color photos from the QBs’ childhood through the present. Veteran sports biographer Jeff Savage tells their stories through the highlights of their lives on and off the field. Other Amazing Athletes titles cover several other NFL stars as well, including recent Super Bowl QBs Peyton Manning and Eli Manning and running back Adrian Peterson. For general football fans, check out Millbrook’s Touchdown: The Power and Precision of Football’s Perfect Play.

Enjoy whatever football excitement this season brings! Happy fall!