Goshen News, Goshen, IN

September 29, 2013

THE SKINNY: Thoughts on a busy football season

By DAVID VANTRESS
THE GOSHEN NEWS

GOSHEN — The air at night is getting more crisp, the leaves are beginning to turn, and that means one thing.

If you guessed “fall,” partial credit is given.

But what I’m really getting at is that football season is in full swing.

From the Friday night lights on the gridirons of Michiana, to Saturdays on the hallowed ground of Notre Dame Stadium, to Sunday afternoons on the field turf at Lucas Oil Stadium and the natural grass of Soldier Field, there’s nothing like the atmosphere at a football game.

Pregame excitement starts hours before the game, no matter what the venue or who’s playing.

I’ve been covering football off and on for more than 30 years, since my junior year of high school, when an injury sent me to the sidelines and since I was already at the games, I picked up the Castle Park High School football beat for the Trojan Trumpet, our school newspaper.

From those humble beginnings, chronicling the exploits of my teammates – while wishing with all my might I could have been out on the field with them – over the years, I have pretty much done it all when it comes to covering football.

I’ve prowled the sidelines, camera in one hand, notebook in the other, chasing the Friday night lights of Oklahoma, Texas, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Indiana.

I’ve covered the University of Oklahoma, the University of Texas A&M- Kingsville, Trine University, Ball State and now Notre Dame.

I’ve covered Green Bay Packer training camp and interviewed players such as Nick Barnett, Aaron Rodgers, Antonio Chatman and Robert Ferguson.

At Packer training camp in 2003, I was thim of a rookie joke, as I was mistakenly informed by some veteran beat writers that why, you could just grab Brett Favre after practice if you wanted an interview.

After I briefly approached a bemused Favre before being intercepted by a Packer media rep, I was gently informed that this is not how it’s done.

Oops.

Through it all, one thought keeps coming to my mind and putting a grin on my face.

I get paid to watch football.

To borrow a line from an old Mel Torme song: Nice work if you can get it.

This year, there are storylines galore: Locally, Goshen High School is struggling to find an identity and wins; Concord stumbled Friday night against Jimtown and now must look within itself; Notre Dame is trying to duplicate the rarefied air of its 2012 season with mixed results; the Bears are 3-0; and the Colts are a force to be reckoned with in the AFC.

The specter of another Midwest winter hangs in the air like the sword of Damocles — but before it asserts its iron grip on Michiana, there’s plenty of football to be played.

See you at a game somewhere soon!

Contact sports editor David Vantress at 533-2151, ext. 325 or by email at david.vantress@goshennews.com.