When I woke up Monday morning and went outside to let my dog out, I felt a welcome touch of fall in the air.
The calendar says we still have another four weeks of summer, as fall doesn't officially arrive until Sept. 22, but at least Monday was a reminder of cooler, milder days and nights to come.
Many of us associate the start of the football season with the beginning of the fall season, and for many years that was the case.
As late as the 1970s, most high school and college football teams didn't start their seasons until mid-September.
College football's expanding season was brought on in part by cable TV and the need to fill air time in the first few weeks of September.
High school season inched earlier in the year, as more schools started playing the game and the playoffs expanded from three to five games in the larger classifications. With the way things are set up now, the state championship games in Florida's four largest classifications won't be played until Dec. 13 and 14.
Florida high school football teams play their first official games of the season this week, but the season started last week in other states.
I'm sorry, but I just can't wrap my brain cells around playing a regular-season game earlier than Labor Day weekend.
I miss the days when, even in Florida, the first cool breezes of autumn marked the start of the football season. There was something wonderfully innocent about those days; then again, I was young and the world seemed to be a kinder, friendlier place — unless you were playing an archrival on their home field.
Of course, there can be no turning back the clocks to yesterday or yesteryears of long ago.
Football falls now start in the summer, and life moves at a quicker pace.
I'll be in Baker on Friday to watch the Gators host Graceville. A week from Friday, I'll be at Jack Foster Stadium as Crestview High welcomes the Choctawhatchee Indians to town.
My dance card for the next 11 Fridays is full with high school football games. And, if I'm luckY and Baker and Crestview have successful seasons and make the playoffs, I can fill a few more Friday nights in November and beyond.
By the time football season ends, I'm hoping there will be a chill in the air and frost on my breath on Friday nights.
Football season is here and the seasons are changing, but Friday nights in high school stadiums across the state seem to forever remain the same.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.