Wednesday marks the first day of school for my son Matthew in Paulding County in metro Atlanta, leading me to the obvious question of where did summers go?
Remember when school got out the last weekend of May and you didn’t head back to the red-brick buildings and hardwood gymnasiums until after Labor Day or the last week of August at the earliest? Remember when summer afternoons were filled with time outside and hours playing whatever game you could invent with a tennis ball, a sawed-off broom handle and a Skoal can taped up with masking tape that could perform unbelievable acrobatics when you threw it just right? Remember when you road your bike for hours and hours with no particular place to go, no particular reason for your mom to be worried about your safety and plenty of friends for your own little Schwinn mafia?
But, as Bob Dylan sang twangily oh those many years ago, “the times, they are a-changing.” Even here in Whitfield County we have less than 10 days of freedom for the little ones before they head back to the classrooms and the hallways. Summer, my friend, we hardly knew ya.
And with the return of class bells and tardy slips, the rest of the fall sporting season is set to crank up with some new faces, some big questions and plenty of action at the net, on the diamond and on the trails around the area.
While football practices officially began last week, teams can don pads on Wednesday for full-blown practices in preparation of the upcoming Friday night follies, but the boys won’t be alone this week.
Practices officially begin for volleyball, softball and cross country on Wednesday, and there are plenty of storylines. Can Southeast Whitfield continue its upward climb in the state volleyball circles and build off of its area championship from last year? Is the area’s field of cross country runners as strong as it has ever been? Will new coach Jason Brooker be able to lead Northwest Whitfield’s softball team to the state championship that the players so strongly believe is in their grasp? How will Kelley Barton — Southeast’s sixth softball coach in 10 years — fare with the Lady Raiders?
We will have plenty of coverage as the seasons approach. While football games can’t begin for a few more weeks, softball and volleyball teams can start their seasons on Aug. 10, while cross country meets will start on Aug. 13. As a reminder to the area’s athletic directors and coaches, please email schedules for the fall as soon as possible so area fans can keep up with the schedules in our pages and on our website. Send those schedules to email@example.com.
Here is a look at what else is going on this week:
• Part two of Georgia’s qualifying shots for the 2012 U.S. Amateur golf championships will be held today and tomorrow in middle Georgia, but local golfer David Noll Jr. is hoping to give the tournament a little northwestern flavor. Noll will join 104 other players from around the world at The Brickyard at Riverside in Macon. After 18 holes of play today on the 7,128-yard, par-72 course, the field will be cut to the low 32 scores and ties and anyone within eight strokes of the lead. Noll, who won the Georgia Mid-Amateur Championship earlier this year and was second at the Georgia Amateur earlier this month, will tee off on the first hole at 1 p.m. with Augusta’s Jesse Key and Savannah’s Howard Hickey.
Last week, the United States Golf Association held its first Georgia qualifier at Piedmont Driving Club. Rocky Face’s Will Snipes and Chatsworth’s Chase Jones both competed, but neither earned a qualifying spot. Snipes made the cut, but was seven strokes back of the qualifying line.
• One of the most popular promotions of the year is coming up this weekend with the Chattanooga Lookouts at AT&T Field — and it is going to be bigger and better than ever.
The Lookouts will be hosting the Mississippi Braves this weekend with Chattanooga currently atop the Southern League’s Northern Division in the second-half race. But the baseball will not be the biggest draw this weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, the Lookouts — in conjunction with Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union — will have not one, but two days of Used Car Nights, giving away “pre-loved” cars. Game times are 7:15 p.m. on Saturday and 2:15 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets and more information are available at www.lookouts.com.
Chris Whitfield is a sports writer for The Daily Citizen. Got something that should be highlighted in What’s Going On? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.