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Not much respite in summer sports

Summer season offers little rest for local athletes
by: Self-portrait, Sports Editor John Brewington

Athletes of all ages are now in summer mode with little time for a break for many of them. School studies will soon be over, but summer competition, training and camps are already under way.

Little League is full steam ahead with their local Tournament of Champions-one for the Majors and another for the Minors.

The Majors have already played most of their TOC games and get down to the championship game on Wednesday. The entire tournament is being played in Clatskanie. It's a country-wide competition.

The Minors also started their TOC this past Saturday, but have more teams and will play through this coming Monday and possibly into Tuesday.

Scappoose and St. Helens each have two Junior State teams and they begin play very soon as well. They play tournaments against the other, and even have some tournaments in other states. That competition will go on for at least a month.

It's the 'Girls of Summer,' too. Many of the local softball players are playing on elite teams scattered around the metro area. There are some recreation teams in St. Helens and Little League softball teams in Scappoose. None are really at the elite level of the ASA, at least locally. Still, most everyone is playing ball and gaining valuable competition experience.

Other sports are gearing up for the fall and winter school competitions or teaching the youngsters more fundamentals. A number of those camps and clinics are listed in this week's edition.

Derek Anderson is holding his 6th annual football camp this Saturday, and Scappoose is also taking sign-ups for youth football. Some of the high school teams will attend a high school camp in July.

Not to be left out, there are a number of basketball camps scheduled for the near future as well, both in St. Helens and Scappoose. Most are being put on by high school coaches and their staff with some high school athletes helping out. They are all centered on younger players. There is also a weekly basketball clinic in Scappoose starting soon for youngsters. Many high school basketball players participate on summer ball teams as well. I ran into the St. Helens High School boys and girls team practicing just last week. It's undoubtedly going on in Scappoose as well.

Don't forget volleyball. St. Helens has a camp starting in a week.

There has been no word from soccer, but many of the better players are on summer teams as well. We've heard of no camps or clinics yet, but there probably are some going on.

Track athletes, particularly those out for cross country, usually have a summer training regimen and meet to run together during the summer. There will be a team from St. Helens and Scappoose in the Hood to Coast Relay in late summer.

There are wrestling tournaments during the summer, and many swimmers go year round. Summer is a little better than the sometimes frigid cold of winter.

High school athletes can have a lot on their plate in the summer. There is also a lot going on for those that hope to be high school athletes someday.

For most athletes their athletic careers peak in high school. With graduation, most won't go one to participate in college. Some will continue to play sports-softball, tennis, golf, or jog. But most won't play football again, or wrestle, or run in track meets.

That's sad in a way. Still there are always the 'Glory Days' to talk about, as Bruce Springsteen sang. We've always been impressed by how many former students come back to teach and coach at their old high school.

Summer is a time to learn, and improve, and in some sports compete. It makes things hectic, but it's a good use of a young athlete's time