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I think I’ll always remember the summer after third grade.

A few of my friends came over to the house to play/celebrate the start of summer. My pitchback was in the front yard. Keep in mind, I wasn’t a pitcher. It was just a way to play catch with myself when my parents were busy. This day was in May. My brother had been born merely a month prior.

We’ve played catch, gone inside for a snack but were still melting under the Texas sun. So, we came up with a game. Texas twister. Because at least once a spring, we grabbed a few belongings and ran in the pouring rain to Wanda’s house that was catty-cornered from ours. She had a cellar that was technically a basemen but was carpeted in a mustard yellow color with beds that she used when family came to town.

Back to our game – one of us stood in the middle of the yard with the water hose while the rest of us ran around. The safe space, or cellar, was behind the pitchback. Whoever got sprayed became the tornado.

We must have played that game for hours. Until we realized that one of us actually had a pool in his backyard. So we turned the hose off and rode our bikes to the pool.

Even then, summer meant a break. While the break has taken different forms over the years – from sports camps, cheer camps and Glorieta in high school to Sky Ranch in college – the drastic rise in temperature is directly proportionate to the drop in things on my checklist.

Whether it’s been at the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal or here at the Waco Tribune-Herald, the sports writers always have a meeting to plan for the summer. Of course to make sure everything that happens in the two months before things ratchet back up but mainly to coordinate vacation days. Because we don’t have any other time in the year to use those vacation days. Except maybe Christmas, but that’s entirely dependent on state football and bowl games.

It’s been a crazy few months. From women’s basketball season winding down to jumping in with both feet to high school spring sports. Meaning covering playoff soccer and keeping up with too many high school softball and baseball teams to count.

And then playoffs start for baseball and softball. When those start, the state competitions start. First state track in Austin. Then boys state golf in Austin. Then state tennis in College Station. Then girls state golf in Austin.

At this point, the playoff baseball and softball games aren’t played so close to the Waco area anymore. Recently, I drove three hours to Tyler for a regional final baseball series. It actually wasn’t all that bad because that’s where my grandparents live. But still, my sanity was fading.

Then last week was the state baseball tournament in Round Rock. This week, I’m in charge of putting out our Super Centex teams for baseball and softball. That means tracking down pictures/scheduling kids to come in for pictures all while these people have already started their summer plans.

Which is why I’m celebrating with a lemon lavender cupcake from Silos Bakery right now. Because, finally, I can say it’s summer. My schedule has gone from overwhelming my Happy Planner so much that I’m running out of room to write to trying to brainstorm something to write so that the front page has local content.

Ah, the glories of summer. Because to me, summer equals rest.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)

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