Being an old-fashioned sort, I still have and use one of those old-fashioned company-issued calendars that you pushpin onto a bulletin board.
Even with calendars on my cellphone, computer and tablet, it’s still easier for me to glance up at the calendar hanging on my office wall to check out dates.
It is with disturbing frequency that the pages on that calendar need to be turned to a new month. As I get older, time seems to fly by at a quicker pace. Still, it was with resignation the other day when I looked up and saw that it was time to turn the page yet again, replacing July with August.
That, I have told people, basically amounts to the end of summer for me. National Football League training camps open in early August. The Major League Baseball pennant chases get serious. The start of school is right around the corner.
I have had ambivalent feelings about summer for the past couple of decades or so. While I enjoy the weather, covering local sports in the summer can be a challenge sometimes, Things are less structured than during the high school sports seasons, but there is still plenty to keep you busy. Summer leagues, baseball, soccer, auto racing, sailing, triathlons and more. The sports world never stops.
I was looking forward to this summer as a respite from a crazy busy spring playoff season that kept the Times Review Media Group managing editor, Joe Werkmeister, and myself hopping from one game to another, scrambling to cover as much as possible. It was the craziest spring postseason I can remember in my 20 years of covering sports for the paper. We had baseball games, softball games, boys and girls lacrosse games, boys and girls track and field championship meets. Best-of-three series and double-elimination tournaments extended teams’ playoff lives. On one memorable day, we had to figure out how the two of us would cover six events on the same day.
On the morning of one of those hectic days, I felt a sense of accomplishment — and some relief — when I finally figured out our coverage plans for the slate of games we were interested in that day and dashed it off to Joe. My minor victory lasted only until Joe emailed me back with a query: What about the Shoreham-Wading River softball game?
Yes, it was intense.
The spring sports were extended into mid-June with the New York State track and field championships in Albany and both the Mattituck and Southold baseball teams going to Binghamton in pursuit of state glory. (Joe and I covered both the track and the baseball over the course of two days. Mattituck, by the way, won its first state title and Southold lost in a state semifinal).
After all of that, we had to ramp up for another energy-sapping endeavor: Times Review Media Group’s athlete of the awards. A lot of phone calls, interviews, planning and writing is involved in that. We held the awards reception on June 18.
I define the day after the awards reception as the beginning of our summer mode. It was four weeks later when I took a two-week vacation, resting, relaxing, going to barbecues and taking trips, trying to soak in some summer fun while it lasted.
I returned to work re-energized and ready to go. By then, however, both the North Fork Ospreys and the Riverhead Tomcats of the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League were done playing for the season. The Ospreys had been eliminated from the semifinals and the Tomcats didn’t reach the playoffs. Between the extensive high school playoffs and my vacation, I had seen only a handful of HCBL games, which I enjoy covering.
That was disappointing, but then again, so was the arrival of August.
Just as I’ve come to appreciate the summer months more, they come and goes more quickly than ever to me. Remember when you were a young kid, say around 5 or 6? The summer seemed to last a year. Now, my summer feels as if it has been reduced to about six weeks. Our fall mode will begin on Monday with the start of high school football practices; the other high school sports begin preseason training a week later.
I used to play beach volleyball in the summer and marveled at how fast the season went. Just when you seemed to be enjoying it the most, it was ending. That’s how the summer is.
So, farewell summer. I hardly knew ye.