The kids are already dreading what the calendar reading August means. You remember those days, June–July you never even give back to school a thought, but when that first day of August hits, the summer vacation becomes more and more precious with each passing day.
August is always filled with great going ons in our corner of Penn's Woods. From the local harvest that can be found at Tebbs, Snyder's, Berried Treasures, Tom Styer’s — you fill in the blank with your favorite. I hear from many folks the sweet corn is exceptional this year. That was always one of my Dad's favorites. To try local sweet corn from all the local farmers and see who had the best. Of course it would be accompanied with a thick burger hot off the grill and a specially cut slice of onion — had to be just the right thickness and of course Carol's homemade macaroni salad. Made only with Hellmann’s, is there anything else?
I hope we get some dry dog days of summer for all the upcoming events. Most notable the Little League World Series and all the events that surround it. This year's most notable new event is the Pirates taking on the Cardinals at historically remodeled BB&T Park at Bowman Field. I still think of the old green monster Bowman Field was when I was growing up and watching the Williamsport Tomahawks. It seemed as big as Fenway Park to me back then.
My times have changed. What an unbelievable new baseball field and facility the city of Williamsport has — amazing. But there was just something about Old Historic Bowman Field back in the day. I love old ballparks and gymnasiums. Old Yankee Stadium, the Boston Garden. Heck I love the old gym at the Salvation Army; it smells exactly like it did when I was young.
Area high school and college football teams are getting ready to hit the practice field. The NFL has already opened summer camp. How about the Nittany Lions? Was last year an apparition or are they for real?
I guess it's back to school shopping time also. That always brings Hills to mind — for those younger folks Beiter’s is now located there. The only thing I disliked more than going back to school was back to school shopping. I did love Hills, the smell of the popcorn when you walked in, the machine with little $.25 NFL football helmets and my Mom would leave me roam around the store on my own. First stop, sporting goods, second stop, toy department or vice versa.
Get out and about and enjoy all that August has to offer and make some memories with the children. Family vacations can be as close as the Loyalsock Crick. Sometimes the best memories are the simplest August activities.
Much More than Football
Tip of the coach’s cap to Loyalsock head football Coach Justin Van Fleet. It's hard to believe high school football practice around the state begins Monday. Before you know it, Friday Night Lights will appear up and down the West Branch Valley — the 2017 season kicks off August 25th.
Coach Van Fleet dedicates much time to the promotion of District IV football, the coaches, and especially the players that make our area proud. It doesn't matter what color helmet they wear, he is all about the game and opportunity to tell folks how good our local programs and players are.
This past week the District IV Football Coaches Association held their 4th Annual Media Day at the Williamsport Country Club. This event has continued to grow and has become a great kick off for the upcoming season. Coach Van Fleet is the organizer and overseer of the event. What a great way to bring coaches and players together, break bread, and talk football before they line up across from each other and knock heads.
District IV encompasses a large geographical area, 22 schools were represented from our local squads, north to Wellsboro, south to Selinsgrove and over to the coal region and Mount Carmel. Of course defending State Champs Southern Columbia were there — it has become a Who's Who of area high school pigskin. Coach Van Fleet would like to thank fellow head coaches J.C. Keefer – Montoursville, Dan Tucker – Hughesville, and Jim Keiser – Danville for their help in building the event.
On the media side Coach Van Fleet did a great job getting almost everyone from radio, television, the publications that cover District IV, as well as easternpafootball.com's Billy Splain and Scout.com's Ed O'Brien. As always "Doc" Chris Masse was on the beat for the Sun Gazette. He does a great job along with Mitch Rupert and all the folks at the Daily promoting area athletes.
The WCC and Coach Van Fleet made sure everyone was fed well and over 150 football enthusiasts had great conversation and interviews previewing the season ahead.
The event has as much to do with friendship and sharing the same passions in life as it does about football. This was most evident by the love and support shown for Lewisburg High School defensive coordinator Thaddeus Davis. Coach Davis tragically drowned while vacationing in North Carolina with his family leaving behind his wife, four children and another on the way.
A GoFundMe account has raised close to their goal of $100,000 for Coach Davis's family. Many area coaches had very heartfelt remembrances and kind words honoring the Lewisburg coach. The strong support shown by the District IV football family for the Davis family and Lewisburg community is tremendous.
Thank you to all that support not just the footballers, but all area athletes and coaches. The love and compassion of the sports community always shines brightly during a time of tragedy. My thoughts and prayers are with Coach Davis and his family.
God Bless America.