If Memorial Day and Labor Day are the unofficial beginning and end to summer, then I think Thanksgiving can serve as the unofficial start of winter.
That is definitely the case for the high school sports winter season. A new season is about to begin this week.
Of course, things already have gotten under way. Bowling starts earlier than everything else and one local boys basketball team - the Mayfield Panthers - attended the Hoosic Valley Tournament. In their third-place finish, the Panthers showed off some of their offensive prowess by scoring at least 60 points in both games.
Not a bad output for the first two games of the season.
Just about everyone else will get under way this week as we approach Dec. 1. If you're looking for some basketball action this weekend, there are several tip-off tournaments to whet your appetite for the next three months of basketball.
There's even a league game this week as the Fort Plain Hilltoppers host the Galway Eagles on Wednesday night. I don't remember the last time I saw a conference basketball game in November, but both teams must be eager to get under way.
Then Friday will bring the yearly tipoff tournaments, showcasing lots of local talent. There will be three local teams in Fonda-Fultonville on Friday and Saturday nights as the Braves will host Johnstown, Broadalbin-Perth and Cobleskill-Richmondville in the Colonial-Foothills challenge.
The Lady Braves also will stay local this season when they make their way to Canajoharie for a tournament that will include Dolgeville, Galway and the Lady Cougars. Just a few miles to the west, the Fort Plain Lady Hilltoppers will host a tournament, as well.
Several local wrestling teams - Canajoharie-Fort Plain, Dolgeville, Amsterdam and Johnstown - also will begin their regular seasons this week.
Just by looking at the calendar, the winter is the longest scholastic sports season of the year, stretching out over the better part of three months. The regular season begins in December and stretches until the middle of February. Its length is exaggerated by the weeklong break - at least in the conference schedules - for the holidays in last week of December. Then there is another break for Regents exams at the end of January.
However, not everyone will get under way so soon. As usual, the few high school ski teams this area has will have to wait for some significant snowfall. After a dreary snow season last year, area teams already have said they're hoping for better conditions this year. I know of no sport that depends on the cooperation of Mother Nature at the high school level like Nordic skiing. Even if snow is scarce this winter, the Johnstown alpine team will have the opportunity to race on artificial snow.
The teams that are not in action this week will definitely be on the court or mat next week when December brings the start of conference play. But as always, the season gets off to slow start in December with most non-league contests sprinkled into the early schedule.
But area teams will be in action starting this week. Where will you be?