The first hint of fall comes with the early evening shadows. It's that time of year again. The whole offseason is a waiting game of the spirit, until the world's greatest toy store reopens, the NFL. This is the pinacle of our nation's prosperity: leisure time, at peace, with family, friends, food and football. Real differences, racial, political, professional, religious, become inconsequential, and strangers are bound together by a sense of hope and community. How is it that a child's game can unite a nation so bitterly divided? Closing in on opening weekend, I am thankful to still be alive and able to witness these trivial acts of athletic heroism. The NFL is like a fortress, and inside 32 Lords stage an annual morality play, where simple virtues always triumph. Outside is a twilight world where heroes perish, cowards rise to power, and the moral outcome is still in doubt.