I don't mean the New Orleans kind of Saint. I mean, service-to-your-fellow-man kind of saint. Minnesota winters are long, cruel, and gray. Wendigo psychosis becomes a real threat. And we know that things won't thaw out until April at the earliest.
There's that eerie time in late August/ early September when we feel the chill starting in the air, the first Canada geese are heading South, and kids are back in school, and we realize, "That's it. Summer's over." To some residents of Northern states, that is a very depressing realization. I admit freely that it would be for me too, but accompanying the shorter days, there's the promise of Football. High school, college, and NFL. An embarrassment of football riches. Across the country football fans are getting revved up to see what this year will turn out to be. Which rookies will break out? Who will be underdogs? Who's on my fantasy team? Who's making the playoffs? Who's winning the whole thing?! You are united in giddy brotherhood with thousands of fans across the nation.
And suddenly having to fish around in the hall closet for your windbreaker doesn't suck any more, because it's a windbreaker with your favorite team's logo on the chest. Oh, yeah, baby. It's football season.
I am not exaggerating in the least bit. Football is the one thing that makes winter tolerable. I think I would have moved south years ago if there was not anything else to help get through Winter. After the Superbowl and Pro-bowl, there's a bit of a lull, but then we can play March Madness with our coworkers as a diversion, and then there's the draft buzz in April. By May, the disappointment of the end of the football season is tempered by the return of the sparrows and the lengthening days.
Thank you, football pioneers. Like central heat and electricity, you helped make the Frozen North suitable for human habitation. Even Green Bay. Or so I am told.