HOPE ON THE HORIZON: Shifting landscape reminds us importance of fall

One of the grandest dynamics of living in Montana and of being a Montanan is the distinct, undeniable phenomenon of the changing seasons. We choose to live here — or long to live here again — in no small part because of our collective rebirth every few months.

It’s humbling because, in a world where all of a sudden many strive to control everything, the shift is completely out of our control. It’s empowering because it reminds us that we are but a cog in a much greater mechanism that makes up the energy of our universe.

And with each season, we experience a renewal, a turning of the page, an opportunity for a fresh start, an entrance into a brand new yet all too familiar chapter in our rotation around the sun.

Lamenting the undefeated track record of father time is not what made me feel old when I arose on Monday, August 17. Rather, it was the absence of the energy shift that reignites our collective passion for the fall.

The opening of the football season is usually accompanied by bustling campuses, the revitalization of college towns, and the reminder that, although the world never stops turning, observing our most talented youth helps keep us young.

A certain mystique exists when you are around young people pursuing a common goal. You can feel it. It is inspiring. And it is finite, serving as a building culmination of a young lifetime closer to its beginning than its end. Each fall represents a moment in time for each individual athletethat cannot ever be replicated or replaced.

College football fanatics love glorifying the pageantry, the passion, the competition and the bragging rights that are earned every Saturday within football stadiums around the country each fall.

The true, deep pull of college football is the unbreakable rhythm of the changing to the autumn, the reminder that youth is both spectacular and fleeting. We draw inspiration from observing the courage of the young men who perform. Collectively feeling the phenomenon brings us together.

The hottest days of the Montana summer are almost always accompanied with trips by our enterprise to Dyche Field in Bozeman and the River Bowl in Missoula. As hot as you might be standing in the corner of an end-zone or along a rail with your notebook covering fall camp practices, you are wearing a hat and sunscreen, not a helmet and full football pads.

The first day of school always brings with it the significant and symbolic ushering of autumn. The players break fall camp, a chance for their singular pursuits drawing more near. The writers can breath for a moment, usually congregate at a local watering hole to recharge before embarking on a sprint to Thanksgiving. The coaches shift into game week. The anticipation of the fan bases reaches a fever pitch.

Monday, the University of Montana and Montana State started school. Although both campuses certainly had young people cautiously scurrying around, the energy in each college town is distinctly different this year than at any time since our family moved to Montana in 1993.

The leaves will change. Classes will continue in some form. But we will not congregate, we will not tailgate, we will not have weekly fodder for arguing and the rivalry will have to wait another year.

During trying times, it’s understandable to gravitate toward feelings of angst and despair over what we have lost. And make no mistake: the loss of college football is shattering for people across the nation, particularly those who live in the Treasure State.

But perspective is key if you are to find moments of gratitude as we navigate the adversity of our current existence. No fall camp and no ritualistic start to the academic year are strange circumstances to be sure. Rather than dwelling on what we have lost, Skyline Sports vows to focus on what we can gain.

Montana head coach Bobby Hauck opened his first fall camp at UM since 2009 in August of 2018/ by Jason Bacaj

If you are reading this, chances are you are a loyal supporter. For that, we cannot thank you enough. The opportunity to collaborate as brothers in a passionate pursuit of creating art, chronicling something that has helped mold who we are has been nothing short of spectacular.

The content you will consume at Skyline Sports in the upcoming months will explore a variety of avenues in the Big Sky Conference and Montana sporting world. We promise to have fun. We promise to analyze. We plan to dabble in nostalgia. We vow to remember. And we hope to help you never forget.

Stay tuned for a countdown of the 50 most memorable players of the last 25 years in the Big Sky Conference. Look forward to a new podcast series catching up with some of your favorite Bobcats. Anticipate the release of a 25-part podcast series highlighting the University of Montana’s run to the 1995 national title. Check back in for a series about the easing of racial tensions through the vehicle of college athletics in the Treasure State.

So many have been spending more time at home. We are looking forward to helping you improve your home aesthetics as well with upcoming photo galleries of some of the greatest players who’ve played in the Big Sky in recent years, including photographs and prints available for purchase.

We also plan a mini-series on what it’s like to come to Montana or Montana State as a transfer, junior college or otherwise. We will have a series of profiles on the incoming recruits for the Treasure State’s premier programs. And of course, we have a few surprises up our sleeves.

Sports unite us. Young athletes inspire us. Game days in the fall bring us together. And the passion behind the fiercest rivalry in the West between the Bobcats and the Grizzlies gives us something to talk about with our neighbors 365 days a year.

None of that will change at Skyline Sports. On Monday morning, we woke up and, for the first time, we felt old. But it’s not a reality that is permanent nor one without remedy even if the greatest antidote is on hold until further notice.

In the spirit of living up to our own advice, we choose to focus on what we can gain rather than what we have lost. And if that perspective is a reflection of the wisdom that comes with age, maybe we don’t mind feeling old after all.

All of our best,

Colter Nuanez

Ryan Tootell

Brooks, Kaila, Ellis & Leo Nuanez

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