The thrills are back. The roar of the crowd is restored. The electricity of the world of high school sports has returned for another terrific year.

The thrills are back. The roar of the crowd is restored. The electricity of the world of high school sports has returned for another terrific year.

Golfers, soccer players, water polo swimmers and girls tennis athletes are under way while girls volleyball and field hockey teams, cross country runners and football players are ready to begin. It is a magical time of the year.

Being a former head coach of high school football and a former high school athletic director at Grandview makes me reflect at this time of year about the things I cherish most about fall sports and here are some of the highlights.

I have written many times before about the purity of the opening night of the football season. Everything is brand new and everyone is full of hope. We can be talking about the team, the cheerleaders, the drill team or the band and the same emotions are prevalent. Who cares what happened a year ago. This is your time, your moment in the spotlight and your chance to make parents and fans exclaim, "Wow, they are really good." There is a freshness that comes with opening night that can only be captured in a few hours, but those are moments that I coveted and was lucky to be a part of. While football is the sport that I spent the most time with, the other autumn activities have just as much excitement.

I love watching a great girls tennis match unfold. Doesn't matter if it's singles or doubles, I find it fascinating to watch the emotions and confidence of players rise and fall during a long, tough match.

I thoroughly enjoy watching a fine-tuned girls volleyball team pass the ball and then make a precise set that jumpstarts your anticipation for the kill of the ball. Give me a knowledgeable and enthusiastic volleyball crowd and I'll give you an evening or afternoon of excitement.

Talk about teamwork and enormous effort, take an opportunity to watch a water polo match at St. Charles, Upper Arlington or Thomas Worthington. There are just a few teams around Ohio, but those teams have a multitude of talented athletes who perform with great endurance and will leave you with great appreciation of the work they do.

Like most sports I follow, I find great excitement in the final minutes of a soccer game that is tied or is up for grabs. If a team is down a goal, they're desperate to get the ball on the opponent's goal and their rivals is trying to keep the pressure off. If the game is knotted, it is interesting to see the strategy of both teams as they try score.

With golf being the mental sport that it is, I enjoy watching girls or boys overcome a bad shot or a bad hole to rebound and return their game to the best level possible.

I find field hockey a wonderful sport to watch, especially once you understand all of the rules. Much like lacrosse, it is full of fast-paced action, hard shots on goal and that wonderful instant when a successful pass goes stick to stick and results in a goal. We're blessed in central Ohio to have the best field hockey teams in the state playing almost every day.

Finally, I truly love watching cross country runners. Maybe it is because I have run 24 marathons and finished with a mediocre time in all 24 that I appreciate greatly the efforts of each and every runner. If you're in the fastest group, I salute your talent and effort. If you're in the slowest group, I salute your talent and effort. What is most important in cross country is reaching your personal best, and that is why fans should wait and cheer on every runner in the field.

Thirty-nine weeks to make memories and you can be a part of it. Grab your pen, get your calendar out and mark down some events you want to attend. Next week I will give you some suggestions of potentially great things to see in these next three months and, of course

I'll see you at a game.

Larry Larson is a former athletics director at Grandview High School. He can be heard as "Mr. High School Sports" on WTVN 610 AM.