The interscholastic sports season has finally come to a close and is in the rearview, and in comes the summer season.
Summer is typically considered to be the slowest time of the sports calendar … but I have never really understood why. On the surface I understand it … high schools and colleges are out, and professionally there is just baseball and golf. Then there is, of course, the Little League baseball and softball state tournaments, but other than that, you don’t really hear too much about other activities.
That being said though, there is still plenty to do and plenty to watch during July and August.
First off, there are the items that I just mentioned.
The Little League All-Star tournament is always fun and fast-paced. It will take up most of our space in the sports section for the next few weeks, as it truly is the top local event of the summer.
I have always enjoyed covering Little League for many reasons, the biggest being the fun that the kids have.
Sure, professional baseball is great in that you are seeing some of the best players in the world compete, but at the same time, it is so accessible and such a long season, not to mention that games are now longer than ever. Personally, I have really soured on watching pro baseball over the past few years … it’s just really hard for me to stay engaged after 3-4 hours.
Then for high school and college, sure, it is a lot of fun and there is some real quality baseball in Rhode Island, but the kids sometimes don’t have as much fun as you would hope. Many kids are stressed with their studies, or trying to catch the eye of coaches and scouts, there are times where you’d prefer to see them loosen up a bit and enjoy the game. I have a ton of respect for student-athletes considering the stress they have to endure, and feel for them when you can see it spill onto the field.
Little League though? These kids are just out there enjoying themselves, while not having a care in the world. The Little League tournament is a great annual tradition, and it’s always fun to follow, so there’s that.
There is also American Legion, as well as some travel leagues. These leagues feature kids that usually play the sport year-round, which makes for some high-level play with some of the top players in the state. Those are also worth tuning into.
Then there is golf. There aren’t too many pro tournaments around here, but the majors are always a blast to watch. I am not much of a golfer, and do not watch golf outside of the majors, but when they come around, I am always locked in.
Baseball, softball and golf are the big items on the summer schedule, but especially in a place like Rhode Island, there are other things to dig into.
Whether it be sailing, which I know is engrained in the culture in areas like East Greenwich for example, or surfing, road races, there are so many great local sporting events that sometimes get overlooked.
My overall point of this column isn’t just to point out what is going on, but to encourage everyone to keep an open mind, and to not succumb to the summer boredom that begins to lurk shortly after Independence Day.
We now live in a world where kids are less active than ever. Whether it be social media, video games, kids nowadays just do not enjoy being outside the way they used to. In a world where technology is so advanced, and provides such great entertainment, I understand why the world is trending the way that it has been over the past decade. However, I do think kids need to appreciate being outside and being active, especially when the weather is nice.
That is why I encourage any kids that may be reading this, or parents that have kids, to take full advantage of this season. The days are longer, the weather is nice, get out and do something.
Whether it be baseball, softball, golf, running, sailing, surfing, just go out and do it. Even if those don’t interest you, there are other sports that have summer leagues and clubs. Even if it is not exactly a sport, just go outside a get active.
One of my favorite summer activities, if not my favorite, is hiking.
Sports are my favorite hobby, interest, and passion, but I do enjoy getting away from them once in a while. That is why in the summer, I love hitting the trails in the woods and going for hikes. There is nothing like hitting the peak of a mountain, or the deepest part of a trail, and looking around and feeling nothing but silence, seeing nothing but the forest around you. It really is my favorite way to unwind and get away.
Back to the point though … understand that the summer sports season is not as slow as it seems, and provides so many opportunities for you to go outside and enjoy yourself.
Play a sport, watch a sport, engage in an outdoor activity, join an outdoor club, do anything, but please do not stay inside and watch the summer fade away. This season goes by so fast every year, and the older I get, the more I realize the importance of taking advantage of the good weather and good health.
Embrace this time of the year, because in four, five months, you’ll be wishing you had it back.