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SJ Valley: The land of two seasons
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Is it just me, or do we live in a place where two of the seasons exist in name only?
Last week was the first this year I felt any sort of weather that was categorically “fall” and I’ve only just started to see the sort of typical scenery that one would expect when winter is approaching.
Trees are changing color. Leaves are pooling on the ground. Dew is covering just about everything in sight early in the morning.
And truthfully, I couldn’t be happier that this time of year is finally upon us.
Let me start by saying that I’m not necessarily a summer person. I love all of the elements of summer – the shorts, the laid-back attitudes, the emphasis on fun – but would rather enjoy all of those things without the scorching heat that we are all too familiar with here in the Central Valley.
So, I’d love to have summer without summer.
If that makes any sense at all.
I’m actually quite alright with the first month of heat that we get here in the Central Valley, but after that it starts to become redundant and bothersome to the point of annoyance. As you can imagine, I don’t look forward to checking the weather come September only to see that we have a week of triple digit temperatures in store for us.
Allow me to digress.
Last week my wife came to me while giving my son a bath with a look of pure dread on her face – as if somebody had died. Apparently, somebody had smashed the pumpkins on our front porch that the kids had spent hours carving a few days before. All of that work was suddenly gone in an instant.
I was crushed – knowing how proud they were of their respective pumpkins, and how much I was going to enjoy showing Dylan pictures of the first pumpkin that he carved with his father.
But upon further examination, they weren’t actually smashed at all. It got so hot in the days after they carved their pumpkins that they literally melted into the porch.
Well, fruit flies more than likely ate away the majority of their structure causing them to collapse, but it still made for a pile of rotten goo that took some time and careful planning (a million flies going through your front door is never a good thing) to clean up.
And this got me thinking – did this ever happen when I was a kid?
I always remember carving our pumpkins the weekend before Halloween and never did they end up a big gooey mess on the front porch before trick-or-treaters ever showed up.
Maybe it was the perfect storm of early fall heat coupled with just the right bugs that led to the pumpkin disaster, but another part of me wants to believe that it’s warmer, later – and equally not as cold during the winter months as I remember as a child, either.
I used to walk across my parents’ frozen pool cover – a feat that required there to be temperatures consistently cold enough to freeze water to the point of holding a 100-pound child without sending them crashing through.
Just something that has been rattling around in my head all week.

Pigskin Prognosticators reaching the wire
So, the final week of the regular season is upon us, and our picks this week will determine who the champion will be this season.
It’s a pretty safe bet that it won’t be Chris Teicheira – who went 3-2 last week to put him squarely in last place.
After the dust settled on Sunday evening, myself, Eric Wohle and Mark Condit were all 5-0 last week, which means I improved to 25-9 on the season while the two of them are 24-10. Teicheira, who was in the lead heading into the contests last week, falls to 23-11 and will need a miracle to prevent a distasteful haircut from becoming his new reality.
This is also rivalry week in Manteca – the Buffaloes will showdown with the Lancers and Sierra will play Weston Ranch – and a lot of back-and-forth has been commenced in the last few days over who was the most loyal to their alma mater and who is in effect a traitor.
So, without further ado, allow me to reveal the final regular season picks of the 2017 Pigskin Prognosticators season:
Myself – I’m taking Manteca over East Union, Sierra over Weston Ranch, Ripon over Hilmar, Oakland over Miami and Arizona over San Francisco. And I’m pretty certain that right there will be the winning combination this week to keep my picking crown when the dust finally settles. There has been some discussion about keeping this thing going as long as there are teams in the playoffs, and that will likely happen – but another 5-0 week by me will mean that it won’t make a difference. Rack it.
Wohle – This is the big reveal. All week long he and Teicheira have been going back and forth about whether he’ll be loyal to his record, or his school. So, Wohle will be taking Sierra, Ripon, Arizona and Miami….and East Union. The Lancer is picking the Lancers over Manteca, even though the existence of a “diss tape” that has been making the rounds on social media this week made him skeptical of an angry Buffalo squad looking to make a point and stand up for their established tradition. We’ll see whether this was smart or not when the dust finally settles.
Condit – The picks that came in from “Yoda” are different enough to mean that anything can happen between now and Sunday evening. Condit will be taking Manteca and Ripon but is going with Weston Ranch over Sierra, the 49ers over Arizona and the Raiders over Miami. He claims that four of those games could be decided by a coin flip, but I think that’s just covering his bases for when his long-shots don’t cash in. But then again, I only hold my title because of a lucky coin flip, so maybe I should be a little bit more respectful.
Teicheira – He’s making moves. Heading into the final week of the regular season, Teicheira is taking Manteca and Sierra, Hilmar, the Raiders and the Cardinals. I’m not quite sure this has the distance on it to pull him out of last place (lets be fair – he’s two games back) but anything can happen when teams that don’t like each other are showing down, and his guesses (that’s what all of these are) are as good as any. I haven’t worked it out, but a tie for first would be quite satisfying, and my dreams of a four-way tie for first after seven weeks could still be possible – especially if we extend this out a few more weeks for playoffs.
But let’s be clear – if he’s wrong, this trains heads straight to clipper town for a nice little touch-up.
Until next week.