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Nevin Shapiro
Are we ready for some football-aversion therapy?

The weather's begun to cool, and when the grass gets cut these days, it smells sweeter. I first became aware of this mid-August phenomenon at the age of 12 or 13, when I started playing junior-league football. Mind you, the fragrance of the turf is a lot easier to pick up when your face is planted in it. By the time I got to high school, that particular aroma would trigger a melange of emotions in anticipation of two-a-day practices: dread at the prospect of conditioning drills in the heat, excitement at the prospect of hitting, anxiety about getting hit and melancholy at the approach of another school year. Those practices always began Aug. 15. They still do, but that's not the...