Bring on pumpkins, leaves … and football

Published 9:00 am Saturday, August 26, 2017

Fall is most definitely in the air.

Some people get excited for the kaleidoscopic changing of the leaves, spooky Halloween fun or the fact that the season is the gateway to the  holidays that await just around the corner.

Those things are all great, but fall also means that pigskins are starting to fly and the round ball will be bouncing in Rupp Arena soon enough.

Email newsletter signup

For many sports fans, this is the greatest time of the year. As the saying goes, “hope springs eternal” — even though it is technically autumn.

That means every team has a chance, a clean slate to write its own story.

The Winchester community can see that at the high school level, where George Rogers Clark is looking to build a foundation of success that will translate to wins on the field. New coach Oliver Lucas appears to be gaining momentum and the future looks bright.

He has more players than the team has had in years and the effort has been tremendous. Positive results will come.

There is lots of excitement around the University of Kentucky football team with many quote-unquote experts feeling this may be the year for the ‘Cats to take it to the next level with an eight-win season and a prestigious bowl bid.

While UK may get lots of headlines, the community has many supporters of Eastern Kentucky University, Morehead State, Western Kentucky and many others.

And the fall fun doesn’t stop with football since hoops gets started this season, too.

Now that the Southeastern Conference basketball schedule was released a few days ago, the excitement is building for a young UK team that gets lots of attention year-round.

Perhaps the greatest element of sports, though, is the one that transcends the field of play and goes well beyond the court.

Sports are about people, telling the human story perhaps as good as anything else in life.

Things you won’t see on the scoreboard include triumphs over adversity, tales of overlooked individuals rising above expectations and the “Davids” beating the “Goliaths.”

That brings me back to my alma mater, Marshall University, one of the most heart-wrenching stories in sports but also one of great victory. Many know the story, fairly decently captured in the Hollywood film “We are Marshall” about the 1970 plane crash that killed all 75 people on board including 37 members of the Thundering Herd football team, nine members of the coaching staff, 25 boosters and four flight crew member

The program rebuilt itself, literally from the ashes, and made it back to Div. I to become one of the best mid-major programs in the 2000s with NFL players like Randy Moss, Byron Leftwich and Chad Pennington.

Although it is great to see the success of the football program, it is even more powerful to talk to the people in the community who lived through this and see how people persevere and overcome adversity.

There are stories like this on every team, for every school, in every sport. The men and women athletes all have stories to tell and that is why sports resonates so strongly with so many.

So, bring on the pumpkin pie, the cool air, the football weekends and a basketball season around the corner. Fall is almost here.

While you pay attention to the scores, don’t miss some of the amazing stories behind them.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Winchester Sun and Winchester Living magazine. He can be reached at (859) 759-0095 or by email at