by Clark Groome
It’s fall (at least it is as far as the meteorologists are concerned). With fall there is a major pivot in the sports world.
Baseball is winding down. The tennis and golf majors are in the rear-view mirror. Schools have started up.
And in Philadelphia, football has become the dominant focus for local media folk and sports fans. The Eagles, after a lackluster and boring preseason, are back playing games that matter.
Penn State is off to a blistering start, justifying its national fourth seed. Temple is 1-1 after its first two contests.
Colleges and high schools in the area and around the country are in full swing on the gridiron. According to the sports broadcast listing in Saturday’s Philadelphia Inquirer, there were 23 football games on radio and/or TV that day.
But heretical as this may sound, the fall isn’t just about football. That same Inquirer broadcast schedule lists seven soccer games, four baseball games, four golf tourneys and the US Open’s women’s tennis finals.
High schools and colleges play soccer, row, play golf and do many other athletic endeavors that draw the attention of their fans and, perhaps, others who follow the various sports closely.
On the pro side, the Flyers begin training camp Friday and the preseason games begin two days later. The 76ers start their preseason a couple of weeks after that.
And what I still call “The Great American Pastime” finishes its regular season. This is a good time for Phillies fans to see some of the young players that may be part of the team’s future. There are also some competitions that matter as other teams get ready for the playoffs that lead to the World Series in October.
It’s a rich and exciting time for sports fans, parents of kids on school or league teams, and a rebirth of some hope for exciting years from the Eagles, Flyers and Sixers.
Along the way, sports has been a tonic for those suffering from Harvey and Irma. Teams have moved their games to neutral locations so that people get an opportunity to escape the horrors outside the sports world.
The best story about sports helping the recovery in Texas took place on Saturday, Sept. 2, at Minute Maid Park. Back in their home stadium after playing three home games in Florida, the Astros moved their scheduled Friday evening game against the New York Mets to Saturday so that the players and others in the Houston organization could check on their families for the first time since Hurricane Harvey dumped all that water and destruction on their city.
In the first game of the Saturday double header, the Astros trounced the Mets 12-8. The Mets losing pitcher was, appropriately and symbolically, Matt Harvey. You can’t make this stuff up.
Another highlight of this early fall is Springside Chestnut Hill Academy’s Mo’ne Davis featured as one of the women cited in the Sept. 18 issue of Time Magazine’s cover story “Firsts: Women Who Are Changing the World.”
Nationally, there are 12 covers. Davis is on one of them.
In her profile the SCH 11th grader – the star of the Taney Dragons’ captivating run in the 2014 Little League World Series, a girl in what many said was boy’s clothing – said:
“When I first started, a lot of people didn’t think I was good. So when I struck guys out, it just changed how people went into the game. When you throw a fastball and know you can control it … it’s a good feeling. It’s like taking a bite in a really good slice of pizza. Once you take that bite, everything else is plain and simple, and you enjoy it.”
With such a smorgasbord of sports to enjoy in the fall, you may not even need the pizza.