Besides my immediate family - mother, father and brother - my cousins Jack, 10, and Michael, 8, mean the world to me, and absolutely love sports. And now with the recent addition of a third cousin, Luke, it appears my hands will be full for quite some time.
But after recently taking several days off work to celebrate my 29th birthday with them, along with others, I am completely and utterly exhausted. We must have played at least eight different sports within a quick span of 48 hours, ranging from baseball to basketball to tennis to swimming.
We even participated in a six-mile Segway Tour throughout downtown Atlanta, which I realize sounds preposterous but now I'm convinced it should be a professional sport.
My brief hiatus was capped off with an afternoon at Six Flags the next day, to which I'm quite certain I lost more than my lunch after riding the Superman and Batman rides.
Sadly, I had to decline bowling with my visiting brother, Ben, for fear that my arm would be thrown from its socket onto a neighboring lane. This would not be good, considering I absolutely love to bowl, rolling 15 to 20 games at times while still searching for that perfect game.
Yet all of these activities are simple, though somewhat painful, reminders of why the summertime - even here under the blazing sun in Georgia - is the best time of year.
They say you start feeling more aches and pains at the age of 30, so perhaps I was cheated a year. It's funny how when you're younger it seems as if you have countless energy, stuck in the mindset that you're going to live forever, if not on adrenaline alone. I'm sure my parents wondered if I would ever slow down, but apparently I got stuck in the fast lane.
Summers take me back to my younger days - playing home run derby at the local sandlot, snow skiing at the age of 10 while living in Alaska and rollerblading alongside my best friends.
Learning how to swim was always an adventure, and the countless picnics never failed to include a game of catch, whether Frisbee with Mom or tossing the pigskin with my father.
Speaking of which, football championships are won at this time of the year, in the weight room and on the practice field. Ask any local coach that, especially Eastside High football coach Rick Hurst, who will be the first to acknowledge it's the most important time of the year for his program.
High school basketball will also be here before we know it. Though the Lakers are battling the Celtics in the NBA Finals right now, the Newton Rams are preparing a run of their own with their summer workouts.
The Alcovy High varsity volleyball team is already showing great strides under the new direction of first-year coach Amanda Briggs, who hopes to turn things around after a disastrous season (6-32 overall).
And of course, the Dixie Boys World Series at City Pond will be upon us in two months. It goes without saying that these youngsters are gearing for what will be quite a spectacle for everyone.
The beauty of summer athletics is that it's enjoyed by all ages, and not just limited to a handful of individuals.
Just don't forget the sunscreen.
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