We’ve entered summer’s dead zone for local sports

Published 9:56 am Thursday, July 6, 2017

Well, folks, it’s that time of year again.

The dead zone. The doldrums. The smack dab middle of summer. It’s the sports equivalent of a black hole, where instead of light no game can escape the crushing drudgery of 92-degree days and the long wait until football season.

On the local level, things slow to a crawl as the high school sports season wraps up in mid-May. There’s a brief period of inactivity until summer leagues and the youth sports season get going, but it’s easily bridged by college baseball’s postseason.

June is a breeze and before you know it footballs are in the air in August.

But July … man, does July stink.

It begins with the week of July 4, which is great for barbecues but terrible for fidning any organized activities. Everybody usually takes at least the weekend off, and sometimes it stretches into an entire week.

We get a smattering of minor golf tournaments and the annual Malcolm Butler Football Camp in the second week, but it’s still slow as a sunburnt frog on a tree stump.

Week three brings us more of the void. Not a lot of golf or tennis tournaments, the youth baseball schedule pretty much concluded, the high school teams still on their hiatus before school begins, and everyone else taking one big breather.

Officially, summer ends on September 21, but for Vicksburg’s sports scene it might as well be July 21. That’s when the first rumblings of the new sports year begin to stir everyone into action.

High school football teams in the MAIS will begin practice on July 24 this year. Picture days for all four of our local teams will also be that week, which is the sure sign that football is right around the corner.

Believe it or not, the first event of the 2017-18 high school season is three weeks from tomorrow. St. Aloysius’ girls’ soccer team plays at Jackson Academy July 28. St. Al and Porters Chapel Academy start the fast-pitch softball season with a head-to-head matchup on Aug. 14, and football season kicks off four days after that.

So we’re starting to see a faint glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. We just have to survive a couple more weeks and there will be more action on the local scene than we know what to do with.

Until then, we might have to find some other hobbies or interests. Personally, I think it’s time for a quick vacation and my own breather before jumping back into the deep end of athletic insanity.

Ernest Bowker is a sports writer for The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at ernest.bowker@vicksburgpost.com

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured sports reporters in the paper's 137-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

email author More by Ernest