Happy and unhappy endings

By Roger Grossman
News Now Warsaw

A lot of people love this time of year.

They love “fall things” like hayrides and campfires and hot beverages sitting around sharing stories or just listening to the leaves rustle and the fire crackle.

I like those things, and especially pumpkin-flavored goodies, but I am tempered in my enthusiasm because I know what’s coming … and I don’t like thinking about that until I have to.

No matter what your point of view is on such things, fall is a season of endings. It’s a time when summer is over and we begin the transition to, uh, ummm, “what comes next.”

Life gives way to death, in both a literal and figurative ways.

And sports seasons end, too.

Sometimes, the memories will be good ones, and some not so much.

For example, it was a good end to the girls golf season for Warsaw junior Abbey Peterson, who finished in a tie for 10th as an individual at the girls state golf finals in Carmel.

She had a terrific regular season but saved some of her best shot-making for the last three weeks of the year.

Finishing in the top 10 means she is also All-State, and that in itself is a great accomplishment.

She put the work in, and it clearly paid off.

It’s also been a very positive autumn for Tippecanoe Valley Football, who grabbed the attention of the state by the throat by putting a smack down on then 3A #2 West Lafayette 35-13.

The football-watching state knows the drill — Tippecanoe Valley goes undefeated but plays in a weak conference and gets into the playoffs and never goes very far because they aren’t challenged before that.

But after what happened Friday, there are a lot more people wondering if this Viking team is someone they are going to have to recognize as a factor in 3A in late-October and November.

Hint: they better, or they will be in trouble.

I feel a happy ending for Tippecanoe Valley coming.

Those are clearly happy endings … but what about the Cubs?

The Cubs lost 14 of their last 21 and 12 of their last 13 on the road to miss the playoffs in 2023. After winning their third straight game over the Giants in early September, the Cubs had a 92% chance of making the playoffs according to a website that charts such things.

They got to that point and then their bullpen ran out of gas, young ace Justin Steele lost his command and with it his ability to make batters swing and miss, they went through a serious drought with runners in scoring position and even the most-surehanded of fielders began to kick and drop and fling the ball while runners ran with reckless abandon around the base.

It was painful to watch — like the last of the dark red leaves falling from your maple tree. It transfers from being a kaleidoscope of color to an all-day work project (or 2 or 3 days) in an instant.

But, remember what we were crying out for back in March? “If can just be competitive this season, it will be an exciting summer!” And it was that.

They had a winning record and 46 of their 162 games (more than one out of every four) were decided by one run. It can’t be any more exciting than that. Unfortunately, the Cubs were only 21-25 in those games — many of them in April.

If they had gone 24-22 in those games, they would have made the playoffs.

But they didn’t.

For the Bears, it already feels like winter has set in and we are knee-deep in snow and the ice has firmed up on the edges of Lake Michigan.

I am not sure that the loyal nation of Bears fandom can take a winless season.
No, I know they can’t.

We are already at Def Com 4.

I have other random thoughts to share.

I have to stop drinking pop. I drink it for the caffeine, but the sugar is literally going to kill me. I have never done it before, but I am going to try to start drinking coffee when the snow flies. The tentative plan is to put flavor it in…like mint or pumpkin spice or the like.

We’ll see. I am skeptical.

I also want to try liking soup this winter. We’ll start with tomato, but the crackers must stay in their box. Soggy crackers in watered-down ketchup doesn’t pass the eye test.

My 9-year-old has taken a liking to cross country. I am totally fine with that, but I am going to need to look for a seminar on how to cheer at a cross country meet. All the other sports…I am good with. Yelling “RUUUN…RUUUN!” just seems lame.

And who knew that the most influential person through four weeks of the NFL season would be Taylor Swift?

She currently rules sports … and the world.