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Settling down and in

September 13, 2002|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

Time flies.

I began working at the Herald-Mail exactly one month ago today. Between changing newspapers and turning my once hour-long commute from Carlisle, Pa., into a permanent Washington County address, it's been a whirlwind.

So what have I had time to soak in so far, you ask? Aside from late-night traffic patterns on I-81?

Well, let's see ...

-- Five hundred, schmive hundred.

Can you believe that's where the hapless Baltimore Orioles, losers of 17 of their last 18 games, were just three long weeks ago - about the same time I wrote my debut column, 'O's show promise'?

Call me a fool, I deserve it. But at least I know now not to get buffaloed by the Birds. Although, you'd think I would've already learned that lesson by now, huh?

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-- It's also probably hard to believe that it's taken me, a lifelong sports junkie, until this NFL season to join a fantasy league.

I just couldn't hold out any longer. It became immediately apparent to me on Aug. 12 that if I ever hoped to have a meaningful conversation in our newsroom, I better get myself a team immediately. And with Brett Favre, Stephen Davis and Charlie Garner on my roster, I've also been able to beat my chest around the office after a week-one victory.

-- Everyone around here also loves making predictions, as I'm sure I don't need to tell you. So here are my picks: World Series - Yanks over Braves in seven (behind MVP Bernie Williams); Super Bowl - Redskins over Raiders (I know, I also probably got buffaloed by Spurrier in Carlisle over the summer).

However, I've also learned you often don't need a hint of knowledge to look like a genius. So far this season, I'm 11-1 on the Fearless Forecasters' local high school football picks.

-- But one thing that stays the same no matter where you live or work is high school football and the seasonal magic that surrounds it. The beats of the marching band and smell of hot dogs and cocoa go hand-in-hand with crisper air and falling leaves as the rites of passage into autumn.

The Friday-night lights mean its fall, and there just aren't many things anywhere that can bring a community together like cheering for the hometown varsity.

-- Nothing so far has charmed me more than the tow path along the C&O Canal, which I've already managed to hit for a few long jogs. It's truly a hidden outdoors wonderland for hikers, bikers, runners and walkers.

-- Directions, directions, directions.

I headed out to cover the Washington County Girls Soccer Tournament in Smithsburg last week. Almost an hour after leaving the office, I was in Waynesboro.

Be patient. I'm still catching on.

Andrew Mason is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His column appears every other Thursday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2334, or by e-mail at andrewm@herald-mail.com

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