If you are anything like me — fast approaching 40, thinning a little on top and knees that can tell you whenever it is going to rain from years of baseball and football — then the summer holds plenty of memories of riding all-terrain vehicles, jumping off the top of the dock pylons into the river and eating pizza at your buddy’s house because his mom always bought the name brands.
Something else that brings back the sounds of 80s music and hardly ever wearing a shirt from June to August are memories of summer camps.
The offseason from school included plenty of time spent down at Grandma’s house and maybe a few trips down to Jacksonville beach to go camping, but the thing that I always looked forward to the most were the sports camps. Starting from the time I was 6 or 7, each summer would have at least one sports camp to go along with 4-H camps at Rock Eagle and Camp Jekyll, the annual Richmond Hill 4th of July Barbecue and swimming in my friend Stevie Rushing’s pool.
One of my favorite camps I ever went to was Georgia Southern’s baseball camp with legendary GSU coach Jack Stallings, who finished with an overall record of 1,257-799, which ranks 11th all-time for Division-I baseball coaches. Stallings was part of the international baseball scene for the United States, especially in the 1980s. He was a hitting coach for team U.S.A. in the 1984 Olympics and was part of numerous Pan-American Games throughout the years.
During my week-long stay in Cone Hall on the GSU campus (the cheerleading campers were staying at Veazey Hall on the other side of Sweetheart Circle), one of the big baseball sayings at the time was, “You gotta love it!” Stallings had us all in the dugout giving us a speech and relating his various trips to Central America and Venezuela for the Pan-Am Games. He even gave us the Spanish translation of the saying as part of our baseball learning.
While I am not sure if there will be any Spanish learning this week here in Whitfield County, another great group of camps will be offered. Coahulla Creek will host its baseball camp today through Wednesday at the school starting at 9 a.m. The cost is $40 per camper, and the camp is open to age 6 to rising eighth-graders. Also today, the Northwest Bruin Basketball Camp for boys in kindergarten through ninth grade will start at 9 a.m. and will continue through Thursday.
Another camp starting this week is the Dalton Parks and Recreation Department’s “Fun in the Sun” tennis camp. DPRD tennis pro Michel Bates will conduct the camp at Lakeshore Park Tennis Center with two sessions — ages 4 to 7 at 8:30 a.m. and ages 8-14 at 9:30 — starting today and going through Friday. This is the second of four camp sessions this summer.
Be sure to look for others as the summer rolls on. For more information on these and other activities, remember to check out the Local Sports Calendar on page 4B or online at www.daltonnow.com/events.
Here is a look at what else is going on this week.
• Tonight is Kid’s Eat Free Monday at the Chattanooga Lookouts game against Pensacola at AT&T Field. First pitch will be held at 7:15, and the Lookouts will be heading out of town for a five-game series with the Mississippi Braves before returning to town for a three-game series with the Tennessee Smokies starting on Sunday. That three-game set against the Smokies will conclude on July 3 and will be followed by the team’s fireworks celebration after the game. The Lookouts are 1-3 early in the second half of the season after finishing nine games back of the Jackson Generals in the first half of the year.
• Down south in Rome, the Braves are giving fans twice the fireworks this season. Following games against the Kannappolis Intimidators on June 30 and July 3, there will be fireworks presentations after the game. Also, on Tuesday night, the Braves have two-for-one tickets for their contest against the Greenville Drive. Rome finished dead last in the Southern Division of the South Atlantic League’s standings in the first half of the year and are currently half a game behind Greenville in the second half standings.
Chris Whitfield is a sports writer for The Daily Citizen. Got something you think he should highlight in “What’s Going On?” Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.