Summer’s here already, and sports don’t stop

Published 7:55 am Thursday, May 31, 2018

Tuesday morning, as the sun was coming up, Vicksburg Swim Association members were dropping lane lines into City Pool and preparing for their workout. By 8 a.m., the sun was already becoming oppressively hot on the deck and blinding on the water.

Later that afternoon, Warren Central’s baseball team threw out the first pitch on its 20-game varsity summer schedule as it hosted a doubleheader against Germantown.

As the week goes on, other high school and youth sports teams will stir to life and by next week almost all of them will be into their offseason programs.

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All are signs that summer is upon us. That didn’t take long, did it?

Summer used to be an offseason for high school sports, and a lot of sports in general. Not anymore. Workout sessions have become increasingly organized. Even though attendance can be loose, baseball, softball and basketball teams play full schedules in June. Football teams attend camps and play 7-on-7 games when they aren’t burning calories and lifting weights in the early morning or evening.

The summer, which used to be filled with relaxing downtime, has suddenly become essential to teams’ success. This is the time of year when impressions are made, fundamentals taught, systems installed. It’s a crazy thought, considering some of them have just finished a grueling regular season and even the nearest opening day is still two months away.

For youth and club teams like the VSA, this is the start of their season. The VSA’s Killer Whales swim year-round, but summer is when everyone is out of school and available to participate. They’ll kick off their schedule this weekend with the annual Stamm Invitational at City Pool.

Over at Halls Ferry Park, the city’s daily Tennis in the Park program is getting ready to start, and travel baseball and softball teams are gearing up.

There is still time to have fun, of course. It’s usually too hot to do much but hunker down and play video games between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Other than that, the cycle marches on, relentless as ever. Summer vacation is now just another season on the sports calendar. It might not have as much across-the-board meaning as the actual season — most of the high school teams barely keep score during their games — but it’s still busy and important.

So, to our local athletes, I hope you enjoyed your summer vacation. It feels like it was over before it began.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at

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 reporters in the paper's 140-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.

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