I’ve never run a marathon, which covers 26.2 miles, but I’m beginning to appreciate what it must be like.

The 92-day endurance race we call Texas summer has worn me down. I’m ready for the finish line, officially known as autumn. Not Indian Summer, because that is almost a given in Texas. And not September either, because relief from the heat is often inadequate. I’m ready for an honest-to-goodness fall season.

Every summer, I vow that I’ll never complain about cold weather. Then every winter, I vow that I’ll never complain about hot weather.

Recalling that this year, our part of the world had maybe two weeks of what other people consider to be spring weather, I’m worried that we might be blessed with only two weeks of fall. However long it lasts, though, bring it on — as long as it includes cool temperatures and/or rain. I’m ready.

It’s little wonder that in 2010, 80 percent of the world’s population lived within 60 miles of a coast, and it’s growing. Water has a moderating influence on temperature extremes.

Back at home, there’s hope for nicer days here. High school football season opens this week, and the first day of September is just hours away.

These are good things to hang our hats on, but by themselves they don’t guarantee much change. It’s not like other areas of the country where Labor Day weekend actually brings an abrupt shift in weather conditions. It is already snowing this week in some areas of Montana and Wyoming, after unseasonably warm temperatures there earlier this month.

But in our fine state, it’s time to tee up the football. Schools are back in session, dove season is imminent, and Christmas decorations are on store shelves. We are ready. The weather simply isn’t cooperating just yet.

Let’s go ahead and start without it. The season that creates the most excitement is here. Football.

High school football season is an “all-hands-on-deck” proposition for media outlets, and for the staff of a small-town newspaper like the Bulletin, it prompts a mobilization like none other. Few activities are followed more avidly, and by more people, than high school football. And for my money, no one covers it better than your hometown newspaper.

I wish I had kept a journal throughout my career, but many of the days were long enough without having to write “Dear Diary.” However, I do remember things, and some of my most memorable moments happened while assisting the Bulletin sports staff as it covered high school football.

The games, the players, and the coaches all contributed memories, but they weren’t all from game nights. And they didn’t all involve students competing on a field or court.

While helping to cover these dedicated students and their mentors involved in extracurricular activities, you learn much about their hearts, and that can be inspiring.

You learn that coaching and teaching involves more than just explaining how to improve specific skills or talents. Students who participate in extracurriculars like athletics, band, theater, robotics, and UIL are taught much more — lifelong lessons in character, goal setting, planning, discipline, teamwork, cooperation, and sportsmanship. For some, these activities are the only reasons they don’t drop out of school, and instead do their best in academic classes to remain eligible.

Regardless of the season, we have a lot invested in our young people, and they deserve our support.

 

Gene Deason is editor emeritus of the Brownwood Bulletin. His column appears on Fridays. He may be contacted at news@brownwoodbulletin.com.