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Hartselle Enquirer
Jacob Hatcher

The boys of fall

By Jacob Hatcher

Community Columnist

Spring brings the low rumble of thunder off in the distance, and summer brings the constant hum of crickets and cicadas. Fall, on the other hand, sounds like acorns hitting every branch on their way down the tree. It sounds like leaves crunching under the feet of little children. It sounds like shouts of “Trick or Treat!” and screeching screen doors.

But like the rattle of the tracks betrays a distant train’s arrival before it comes around the bend, my favorite sound of fall comes well before fall has really set in. It happens as the sun goes down and lawnmowers fall silent. The air is still thick with humidity, even if it’s not quite as bad as it was a few weeks before.

In small towns all across this country, right after supper time on a Friday night, you can walk out onto your front porch and hear it. Off in the distance, if you’re lucky, you’ll hear the cheer of the crowd and a faint whistle blow. You can hear the crack of the drums at halftime. And that’s when you know for sure that fall is just around the corner.

It brings to mind the most Americana of feelings. If Norman Rockwell paintings had a soundtrack, it would be the sounds of a small town high school football game. Where young love is born and big dreams trample down carefully manicured sod in hopes of coming true.

It would sound like metal bleachers echoing under the weight of work boots, as blue collar Daddy’s find their seats to cheer on their sons. It would sound like cheerleaders hollering into megaphones and Mama’s gasping in fear as their boys collide into one another.

The crack of the shoulder pads and the crunch of cleats walking across concrete tracks are to fall what carols are to Christmas. And like Clarence getting his wings when that bell rings, young men all across this country get a little more heart every time that ball is snapped.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, the game’s about to start.