Rolling the dice on summer sports

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The calendar pages have flipped once more and now we find ourselves approaching the middle of June. Athletes find themselves in the midst of a summer sports season where they can improve their skill set and physical abilities so that they are more than prepared to play their respective sports during the fall, winter or spring. Or maybe they just want to have some fun.

There’s something unconventional about a sport being played during a season that it’s not usually played in. Sure, many major sports events still occur during this time — the NBA Finals and Major League Baseball are a couple sports to name that are televised at the current moment.

But I’m talking about the kids in elementary school and all the way up to those at the high school level. They all have an option to play sports in the summertime.

Summer sports are a wild card. A gamble. A roll of the dice if you will. 

For many athletes, this is an opportunity to get more playing time or experience in their respective sports but in a calmer environment. Others are just looking to have fun with friends and make new ones. Some are looking for a change of scenery and might play a different sport altogether at this time. 

However, playing at this time of year shouldn’t be taken so lightly. 

Like I said, to play at this time of year is a wild card. A baseball player can play with the usual club or travel team that they play with every summer, but find themselves on the bench this time around. A basketball player that plays in the annual showcase can find themselves with a season-ending injury when they are due to play their regular season. 

There’s no telling what can happen when you take the field, court, diamond, track or what have you. 

Then again, it’s a gamble. My fondest memories of playing baseball were when I was playing in the summer. In 2015, I played on a team composed of my two brothers and my friends in San Diego. Half of the time, we only had eight players. We found that aspect exciting, and we never forfeited a game just because we only had eight, that just meant we only had two outfielders.

We had fun with it. We played out of position — a player that wouldn’t normally find themselves playing third base was batting leadoff and starting at third base on any given day. With eight players on the field, we’d lose by a wide margin on some days, but then we would beat teams that had 20 players in comparison to only our eight on another day. 

One time, we played a game in the middle of a storm (which I don’t recommend). I remember seeing pink lightning pierce dark gray clouds that had completely covered the sky. Once that lightning made itself known, the home plate umpire called the game, but we had been out there long enough to be soaked. We had a good laugh about it.

At practice, we would play music to the loudest volume while we fielded ground balls and tried to hit home runs out of the park on a field that had no fence in center to right field at the time. Sometimes, we would all go out to eat at a fast food restaurant afterwards because we felt like it. We were all sure to give it our all, whether or not we were practicing or playing an actual game. 

One can find themself with a mediocre experience playing a summer sport or find themself making new friends and memories. It’s really a roll of the dice.

Nicolas Chacon is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected].