No, I’m not stuck in a time warp, nor do I own a DeLorean powered by a flux capacitor. However for those of us who follow the fortunes of the JTHS Falcons athletic teams, the turning of the calendar from August to September is similar to turning the pages from December to January.  It’s the start of a new year of Falcon sports and by the time you read this, the Falcons will be getting ready to start the 2017-18 school sports year, if they haven’t already. Between now and next May, there’ll be something for every fan to get excited about.  A veritable cornucopia  of sports.

We’re jumping right into it as the fall season offers football, field hockey, girls’ volleyball, boys and girls soccer, and Boys and girls cross country.  Of course, the fall Sports season also means cheerleading and marching band, who add immeasurably  to the game-day atmosphere and participate in competitions of their own that are no less grueling and challenging as those played “between the lines.”

The 2016-17 JTHS Athletic teams brought great pride to the school and the community in general with a level of consistent achievement from September to this past spring. When the class of 2017 ceremoniously threw their graduation caps in the air  – can it be only two short months ago? – they left two things on the field that day.  They left a legacy of excellence, competitiveness, and honor that will be talked about and rightfully celebrated for years to come. They also leave a challenge to  the classes of 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 to go all out and continue the tradition of excellence which has become a trademark of Falcon sports.

It will be a daunting task to be sure.  Players will be asked to play at a level they’ve never played at before at a pace that is quicker, against opponents who may be bigger and more experienced than anyone they’ve ever played against before.  Such is the nature of sports, particularly at this level and this is not a column asking you to lower your expectations.   Rather I’m inviting you to join this new cast of fledgling Falcons as they spread their wings individually, as teams, and as a school.  I know for a fact the athletes in the various sports have invested their time this summer in developing their skills further.  Some play on recreational teams with players from other schools, some attend camps to learn new skills and enhance the ones thy already have. Some have met as units working to increase their cohesiveness and some have worked anonymously, but with no less dedication to elevate their games.  Indeed, many years ago, a coach I deeply admired and respected told me how the games played during the respective seasons are frequently won with the time and effort the players devote during the off-season. I have seen and heard of the effort put forth this summer and with that in mind I have confidence that these Falcons will snatch the challenge issued to them in their talons and take us on thrilling flights of their own.  There will be growing pains from time to time to be sure, but the future is bright and it’s time to make room in the trophy case and and extra lines in the record books for the next round of accomplishments to be honored.

By the time you read this, and barring changes due to inclement weather, the 2017 seasons for field hockey, girls’ volleyball and boys soccer may have begun and the first football and girls soccer games will be just hours away.  So take the time to break out your stadium cushions, lawn chairs, blankets and Falcon Fanware.  Head down to the pharmacy and pick up some throat lozenges so you’ll be able to cheer loud and long over the next several months.

As opposed to New Years Eve in Times Square, we’re not waiting until the ball drops but until it goes into the air.  Care to count down with me?  3…2…1.. Happy New Year!! and Go Falcons!

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