Did you double take when you saw my smiling face above this headline? Well don't pinch yourself or flood my Facebook page, you're not dreaming. I'm back gracing the pages of the Tribune Chronicle sports section. Please, contain your excitement.
At another time I'll write my official "I'm back" column, cause I know you all have been dying to know what I've been up to, but for now I want to talk about the most exciting time of the year for us at the Tribune Chronicle: Football season.
First and foremost, the highly anticipated, much asked for, 120-page football preview magazine hits newstands on Wednesday. The cost is $4.95. Believe me, it's worth it. We go to the last detail on 38 teams from Trumbull, Mahoning, Portage, Ashtabula and Geauga Counties. If you want to know about it, it's in this book.
Also in the book are team schedules, results from last year, players to watch for and some great stories about the game we all love. Veteran writer Mike McLain talked with new Warren G. Harding coach Steve Arnold about making the transition from basketball to football, and he also remembers back to 1972, when Warren Western Reserve won the AAA State Championship.
But just saying "the book is on sale Wednesday" isn't my style. I'm way too flashy for that. So, on Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m. come out to O'Charley's in Niles with myself, my Tribune sports guys and my good friends at ESPN 1240 as we have a Kickoff Tailgate Party to celebrate the beginning of football season.
The party gets started at 4 p.m. as "The Ryan and Christian Show" on ESPN 1240 broadcasts live. And I know this for a fact, they love when people come to remotes. It makes their day.
We also will have books there for sale at a discounted rate. So come down, pick up a book (I'll even autograph it for you), get a drink of your preference and talk sports with us and the radio guys. It's going to be a fun time and I hope to see all of you there!
And when you see me at O'Charley's, I'm easily recognizable. I'd like to say it's because of my beauty and pretty smile, but I know it's because it's easy to pick out the girl. I kind of stand out, which is never a bad thing.
But when I'm at events, the first thing I'm asked is, "How do you always do so well in the Fearless Football Forecast?" Or, "Who helps you because a girl shouldn't know that much about high school football?" Or my favorite, "How do you cheat?"
The answers to all of those are: I've got skills, no one, and please... I don't need to cheat.
But I digress. If you ever wanted to be a Fearless Football Forecaster or see how you pick next to us, then join the Football Frenzy contest.
If you were a part of the contest last year, then it's easy this year. Just sign back in with your username and password. If you don't remember, you can have it emailed to you.
If you are new, then it only takes a few minutes and zero dollars to play. That's right folks, it's free. And here is how it works.
Every week, we will give you high school, college and NFL games to pick from. All you have to do is pick who you think will win. At the end of each week, we will have three local winners - one from each level - and you will win a prize from one of our local sponsors. Also, because the NFL and college picks are a nationwide contest, if you were to win a week of that, you will get a prize from Fathead. But that's if you beat everyone in the nation, so good luck.
Also, at the end of the season, the person who has the best picks from the area in terms of high school games, will win $250. And, if you were to happen to win the national contest for the whole season, you'd win a trip for two to Hawaii. And probably an interview with yours truly because that would be a pretty awesome feat.
So here's to the fastest season of the year. Happy Football Season!