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Posted: July 23, 2011 9:16 p.m.

It's no fun to play outside in this heat

When I joined the Army in the early '90s and I found out that I would be going to Ft. Benning in Columbus, my recruiter tried to warn me about the heat. He told me how just walking from a building to your car would make you sweat like you had just run a mile.

Of course, I really didn't pay him much mind. After boot camp at Ft. Sill Oklahoma, I made my way out here to the South and I quickly found out what he meant. Coming from the relatively mild climate of northern California, the heat and humidity were a rude awakening.

You don't need me to tell you how hot it is outside. Most of you have lived here far longer than me. But I'm going to anyway. Right now the East Coast is mired in the midst of a heat wave. It's so hot, I don't even want to play golf. I know. How can anyone not want to play golf?

Actually, I still play when it's hot enough to cook eggs on the greens. But the heat can cramp an athlete's performance, if not his or her style.

So what else can we do when it's so bloody hot out? Well, we can sit indoors and watch TV. That's not very active. I guess you can go swimming if you have a pool or are friends with someone who has one (sorry, you aren't invited over). You could go to a movie. But what about any sports activities?

There's always bowling. It's not exactly a strenuous exercise but it is a sport. In fact, bowling is super competitive. If only we had a bowling alley in Newton County. If only we had a Cracker Barrel, or a Target, or a movie theater, or a…

If bowling isn't your cup of tea, you could always go down to the Newton County Recreation Commission's Tuner Lake facility and get a pick up game of basketball going. Basketball of course can be played outside but I think I'd rather stay off the smoldering asphalt of an outdoor court. At Turner Lake, anyone can show up and play some hoops. You'll have to pay a small fee, but it's cheaper than a movie and far better for you.

When it's hot out, nobody wants to do much. That's why the county football teams are practicing either early in the day or late in the evening. That's also the safest thing for our young athletes. Fortunately we haven't had any serious heat injuries to speak of recently.

Of course, some athletes don't care about the heat when it comes to competing. Take the cyclists who ran the criterium races yesterday downtown. It didn't seem to bother them. They were amazing and, in my book, nuts for braving the heat. But that's what dedicated athletes do.

Remember when it's hot out, take precaution. I know you've heard it a million times but if you are going to do an outdoor activity in this heat, drink plenty of water. Water staves off heat stress and keeps the body hydrated. When our bodies run out of water, our brains start to cook. Heat stroke can come on very quickly and like and engine that runs out of oil, it's often too late when it does.

Even though it's hot, stay cool. Ice storms will be back before you know it. Then everyone will be complaining about how cold it is.

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