Many people tend to agree that fall is their favorite time in Tehachapi. Fortunately, this statement pre-dated phony pumpkin-spice drinks, apple-cinnamon candles and whatever the latest trend-to-tradition comes out of the depths of the internet.
While the weather hasn’t agreed yet to the distinction on the calendar that it is, in fact, autumn, the sports calendar leaves little doubt. While people may like fall for its traditions, the coziness of their homes and the preparations that begin for the holiday season, for sports fans there is nothing like the fall. It remains the one time of year when seasons begin while other seasons end. It’s as unique as it is exciting.
We’ll start with football. Fall is the official beginning (although late summer is becoming the norm) for pigskin across the nation. From youth to high school to college and the NFL, the sport begins in earnest around and shortly after Labor Day. As the first days of fall arrive, the NFL and college football are a few weeks into their schedules, just about the time when fans can tell which teams have a shot, and which squads are doomed for the long weeks ahead.
With this year’s change to the high school schedule, the first week of fall this year meant a bye week for the Tehachapi Warriors, but starting this week forward it's league play and the season really starts to matter.
Fall’s special place in a sports fan's heart, however, isn’t reserved for football. You see it’s the combination of the sports offerings that makes it unique. Major League Baseball is concluding its season. This week they’ll wrap up the regular season before heading into October, and eventually baseball’s “Fall Classic,” or as we like to call it, the World Series.
This year’s offerings of playoff teams will be a mix of familiar faces, and a few others that might have surprised some people. I’m just happy the Oakland Athletics are relevant for the first time in a couple of seasons. While they lack the star-power and payroll of many of their playoff-bound counterparts, I hope for an autumn miracle. Fall loves an underdog.
The PGA wraps up, motorsports find a little more speed as the various circuits run their final laps in the fall as they throttle down for winter. Fall is a season of champions, as more titles will be handed out in these months than any of their seasonal counterparts.
While some champions are crowned, some are just beginning that process. Locally my thoughts wander to high school volleyball, where the Tehachapi Warriors are seeking another South Yosemite League title. Fall means league games, and a chance to defend what they have built. The Warriors are out of town this week for a pair of matches but return home next Tuesday night to host West at 6:30 p.m.
There are others beginning their journeys as well. Pro hockey and basketball open training camps and start preseasons while sports like college basketball hits the practice courts in preparation for that journey that I personally know like the back of my hand. It’s a long one that begins in the early days of fall and in the best years wraps up in early spring.
I’m sure there are plenty of fall sports beginnings and ends that I’ve missed. In the era of cable and digital television, you can watch anything across the globe and become a fan. So, if I’ve missed the beginning of the English Premier League or the international rugby start, let me apologize in advance.
Whatever your cup of tea, or pumpkin-spiced latte, there’s something for you in the sports offerings of fall. But, whatever you do, don’t make the same mistake I did earlier in this piece and use the word “coziness” when referring to sports. Some things are simply unforgivable.
Corey Costelloe has covered the NCAA, professional and local sports for more than 20 years as a reporter and broadcaster. A THS graduate, he now resides and works in Tehachapi. He can be reached at email@example.com. The opinions expressed are his own.