Ever since I was a child my favorite season was fall (I'm not an autumn guy). My love affair probably started because I have a birthday around Halloween and those were always two anticipated and enjoyable days for most kids. There were also a lot of other fun fall rituals as a child, begging my parents to get Royals playoff tickets (at least in the late 80's/early 90's - they never made it though), it was the primary soccer playing season, school got passed the lame review stage and to the point I could show off my mad math skills (although I seemed to be one of the only students to care about that), going to high school football games with friends and wearing my newest Iowa State (my first love until I went to Kansas State) sweatshirts as it got cool outside.
There were some special falls in my younger years: begging my parents to take me to as many Royals games as possible to see George Brett chasing 3,000 hits and hoping to be there the moment he did (I was at the entire home stand after he returned from California to see hits 3,001-3,005) and begging my parents to take me to see as many Royals games as possible in 1993 before George Brett retired (I was at his final home stand).
As I got older I did hit a bit of an autumn lull; baseball got a little more depressing, the Chiefs got a little more interesting but depressing in their own right (I am not even referring to their last two games), birthdays started getting a little more discouraging (the actual days weren't just what they signified) and fall seemed to become the thing that was barely there to get us from summer to Christmas.
That lull did not last long though. I started to mature and had some very impactful falls; the primary courting of my beautiful bride, Heather, was through the fall eight years ago. And, a few years later my son, Harper, really became alert to his dad being more than just a transportation device to take him to his mom when he needed something. Fall seemed to become the time when we slowed down just a little to spend more time with family and friends that the busyness of the summer seem to separate us from. Then last fall (much less important than the prior sentences in the paragraph - just to be clear) I was brought back to the excitement I had as a child with the Royals' postseason run. My childhood romance with the Royals and baseball was back and in a huge way and it was not just me; our city passionately united around a bunch of boys we watched grow into men as the season worn on. There were some differences. Rather than begging my parents for tickets, I asked them to watch Harper while Heather and I went to a few games. As exciting as each game was, there was still work the next day and having a more mature outlook on the games, I could fully enjoy the experience.
As I have reflected on why I still love the fall so much - the crisp morning air, wearing sweaters (remember I am getting older so not as many sweatshirts), the lovely colors that the trees give us just before they drop their leaves, the smell of bonfires off in the distance or the end of allergy season after the first hard frost - are all great but it is none of those things. I believe these days it is about opportunity. In early October we still have the opportunity to re-direct the current year if we do not like where it is heading. Even if the current year seems like a throw away we are close enough to see the next and the opportunity a fresh slate brings. So finish this year strong and enjoy all that fall has to offer along the way.