As I sit here and write this last bit for the October issue you hold in your hands, it is the first day of fall, and it's feeling quite autumnal here in the Chicago area. Cool and breezy, with the changing leaves not quite near their peak. All good things in all good time, and right now, the good things I'm thinking about are long walks in the woods, followed by a cup of tea and some soup that's been sitting on the stove at a simmer all day. You might be thinking about the fun of a Friday night football game at your kids' high school, or a day spent wandering a corn maze and drinking hot cider, or any number of fun fall festivities.
Happily, much of this is available to us this year, and right now, that feels like a blessing. I'm not sure I'll ever take the local street festivals, sporting events, band concerts and just getting together in person with friends and family for granted again. Even with ongoing mask mandates (at least here in Illinois) and worries about the still-rolling coronavirus, getting out and enjoying some recreation or sport is a possibility in a way that it just wasn't one year ago.
Right now, we're heading toward colder weather, and a long winter that will, hopefully, feel a little less dark and confined than last year's long slog through the pandemic's seemingly direst months. Right now, it's a good time to think about how you will use that time, whether you still have a full range of programs and activities rolling through the cold season or you get a little downtime to think about and plan for the future.
As always, we've got a well-rounded lineup of stories to help you get from here to there, whether you're trying to make your game day more engaging with better lighting and scoring capabilities or you want to ensure your grounds management practices are keeping up with new ideas in sustainability. Perhaps next year, you'd like to add a restroom to a park or site that's benefited from the rising numbers of people who see the great outdoors as their great escape. Or maybe you want to ensure your waterpark or splash play area is up-to-date and ready to entice new visitors. We've got suggestions and ideas to help you meet any and all of these goals in this issue's pages.
In the meantime, it's still right now. You made it this far! Aren't you glad?