May 31—It's the unofficial start to the summer. The sun is finally going to grace us with its presence in spades, and a lot of folks will be taking a much needed break.
But our area student-athletes? They're using their summer time to get back into the lab and work toward their upcoming seasons.
Various sports all across the area will be heading to workouts, camps, instructional lessons from college athletes and professionals, and — later down the road — the first summer practices of the year.
Every day, every week, all summer long — save for the mandatory dead period from the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association — players, teams, and coaches will be putting in a lot of hours in the next few months because the grind never really stops.
For an example, football teams have already been hard at work with their spring practices and camps. I've had the opportunity to hang out for a few of those, and already foundations are being laid before next season.
Another example, basketball teams are jumping right into summer camps. They'll be traveling all over the state and hitting the hardwood in the heat as they prepare for the action during the winter months of the sport.
Baseball and softball travel teams will be trekking from diamond to diamond, improving upon their skills and strengthening connections across the sport.
And let's not forget those that may be heading out to the links, or the tennis courts, or the wrestling mat — well, you get the picture.
The point is, although there aren't "games," there is still a lot going on with high school athletics. It may seem like a down time to some, but to a lot of others, it's yet another opportunity to get better.
Honestly, the same can be said for myself. Sure, I won't be bouncing around Oklahoma going from game to game, sport to sport, putting in constant 10-12 hour days...but I'll still be hard at work.
I've got a few exciting things boiling this summer, and I think you're going to really enjoy diving into the finished products.
It all kind of goes hand in hand with the point I'm trying to get across here. Those amazing plays and feats of athleticism you see on game days? They don't happen without the work put in during the offseason — the work that's being put in right now.
So, happy summer, everyone! May you stay hydrated and healthy, and may you and your team emerge closer and stronger than ever before.
Contact Derek Hatridge at email@example.com.