In truth there are not many who thought we would get to today as high school football players take to the practice field in New Jersey.

Football and field hockey begin what’s called Heat Acclimatization which is somewhat ironic because by the end of the day we’ll be into the 50s and the extended forecast calls for the coolest stretch of weather we have had in months.

Meanwhile Monday is the first official day of practice in New Jersey for all outdoor fall high school sports and that in itself is rather surprising.  If you look back around May or even June it was a long-shot that we would even have a fall season coming off the cancelled spring campaign and with the pandemic still very much a part of our daily lives.

However after taking some baby steps during three phases of outdoor summer workouts we have arrived at this point.  High school fields will be filled with student-athletes and they’ll have a little less time than usual to get ready for the season to begin.

Regular season action begins for girls tennis on September 28th with soccer, field hockey and cross country to start on October 1st.  The football season kicks off three weeks from tonight and coaches will only have one scrimmage before the openers.

Clearly this is a season that will be filled with unprecedented challenges and if we somehow make it through to the end in November it will be considered a major accomplishment.

Meanwhile the NFL season did start as scheduled last night with the Super Bowl champion Chiefs beginning defense of their championship with a fairly easy win over the Houston Texans.  There were about 16,000 fans in Arrowhead Stadium (22% of capacity) which did give KC somewhat of a home field advantage.

That will not be the case for most other NFL home teams who will be playing in empty stadiums beginning this Sunday.

The start of the NFL season means the return of the LFL (Luch Football League), a fantasy league named after our founder and original commissioner Ed Sarluca, a living legend.

The 12-team league which has existed for about 25 years held its draft earlier this week and our team changed its strategy following several years of mediocrity.  “Will Quartet” includes my son, brother and 13-year old nephew Trevor who basically had the final say of most of our selections.

I am happy to report that we showed local loyalty by selecting Dolphins tight end and Manahawkin native Mike Gesicki and our kicker is 49ers veteran Robbie Gould, whose father grew up in Toms River.  This is our year!