“Summertime, and the living is easy...”
— George and Ira Gershwin
I’m a bit of a contrarian when it comes to summer. I’m happy with overcast and mid-60s weather. That, to me, is much to be preferred over any temperature that exceeds 85 degrees.
With that said, I wasn’t complaining this week when the “Juneuary” summer weather that I consider perfect was suddenly interrupted by a stretch of hot sun and temperatures in the 90s.
Sure, bucking hay bales in that kind of heat is a bit much, but then again, that sudden summer-with-a-vengeance is what got the grass drying in the first place.
Working alongside my kids and parents to bring in the hay is a rite of summer that I was glad to share with them.
In fact, the emergence of summer weather coincided with all sorts of summer activities for our family.
The first (and I hope annual) Jack State Invitational Tennis Tournament in Chehalis was a blast. I didn’t count the attendees, but all the courts were full with a few folks waiting to play. It was particularly fun to see parents play alongside their grown children (in our case, I played doubles alongside my 17-year-old son. I’m not saying he carried the team, but I could say that, because it’s true.)
It was also fun to see old Chehalians come back to town for the tournament. Our first doubles match included W.F. West grads from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2020s. That’s a chronologically diverse selection of Bearcats.
Another fun part of the week was a baseball tournament for our youngest son, age 11.
It’s a blessing to have our kids spend time with good men and women in our community who can emphasize some of the life lessons that we’re trying to teach as parents.
I’m not one who cares that much about who wins or loses sporting events, but I love to see competitors showing good sportsmanship and picking themselves up after a tough at-bat or rough inning on the pitching mound.
That kind of poise and grit doesn’t always come naturally. It has to be taught and practiced. We try to emphasize that attitude at home, but it sure helps to have other mentors who can bring their own perspective and support.
That’s why it was so heartening to overhear my son’s coach, Greg Lucht, say this a few days ago, as I passed by my son and his team before one of their games:
“You’re going to strike out. You’re going to throw a bad ball. It’s what you do next that matters.”
Our boys from Chehalis went on to have an epic battle with a team from Olympia. The lead flipped many times. There were cheers and tears.
To lightly paraphrase Rudyard Kipling, we “met with Triumph and Disaster and treated those two impostors just the same.”
The final score was 19-20. We lost that game after battling our way up the consolation bracket. Our boys in crimson took home a third-place trophy, but what they liked even better was a stop at the Dairy Queen in Grand Mound for ice cream after the game.
Hot or not, nothing says summer like baseball and ice cream.
Life lessons are just the cherry on top.
Dad Joke of the Week
Here’s one I found on Twitter:
Me: What do you know about atoms?
Friend: Very little.
Me: Other than that.
Brian Mittge is celebrating the return of a more moderate summer, with forecasted temperatures this week in the 70s. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.