The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

By Mark Nagi

I’d say that most Americans believe that the most wonderful time of the year is the span between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.  That’s when families come together, gifts are exchanged, and overall, you get a lot of positive feelings (until Uncle Billy starts talking politics and all bets are off).

I get it. I really do. But I don’t subscribe to that belief system.

For my money, the most wonderful time of the year… is right now. This four-to-five-week period from late September to early November is, no doubt about it, the best stretch on the calendar.

Why? I’ll tell you why. If you are a sports fan, what else are you looking for!

First of all, the weather is perfect. We no longer will have to experience the oppressive heat. Sweating the moment you walk outside is done until probably May. So, if you choose to play a sport or attend a sporting event, the odds of getting heat stroke are very slim.

Exercise, which can be a chore, is now an absolute delight. I walk my dog Bailey three to four  times a week and each time there is no exhaustion for either of us. Golf courses are still open across the East Tennessee area too.

But let’s get into the watching of sports. There’s so much to choose from!

If you are a baseball fan, the playoffs are now underway. From now until the beginning of November, there will be games that matter almost every day. I know that baseball doesn’t have the hold it used to on the American public, but playoff baseball isn’t the 162 slog from April to October. It’s now a sprint to the finish.

If you are a hockey fan, the pucks are dropping across North America this week. If you are a basketball fan, NBA preseason action is in full swing and college basketball “midnight madness” type events are popping up everywhere. Barring something unforeseen, Tennessee’s men’s and women’s basketball teams will both be in the NCAA tournament once again come March.

Soccer fans have something too with the MLS playoffs and more international games than you can shake a stick at.

But the main thing that makes this the most wonderful time of the year for a sports fan is football. Thursday night you can watch the NFL. Fridays mean high school football. Saturdays are for college football. Sundays you get most of the NFL slate and things end on Mondays with the last game of the week.

The sports talk shows are filled with “who is on your Tennessee Mt. Rushmore” type discussions needed to fill time during the summer months. Oh no, now you can hear comments on the Vols high-flying offense, or the Titans’ run game.

It’s the best. Just the best.

Every June, when seemingly all you have is baseball and Wimbledon, I find myself watching old video clips on YouTube of football games of yesteryear. It makes me long for the Fall, when a sports lover’s paradise is in full swing.

Thankfully. We are here.