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STOVALL: July is the last hurdle before a buffet of sports fun

Gabriel Stovall

Gabriel Stovall

The Georgia High Schools Association has dubbed this week of statewide inactivity, “Dead Week.”

And if you ask me, it’s a name that fits well with the rest of the month of July as it relates to sports.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to what I like to call, Dead Month. The month of July is, by far, the slowest month of the year when it comes to sports. My apologies to fans of events like the Summer X-Games, Wimbledon or the PGA. And I’m definitely not trying to hate on the disciples of NASCAR and Major League Baseball — I was at Turner Field just last month, and I absolutely love the atmosphere of the baseball park.

I actually find my own measure of pleasure in each of these.

But let’s face it. If the summer sports scene were so exciting, why do we spend so much of our time forecasting the fall?

There is a time around the first week of October where the menu of sports— both on the amateur and professional levels — is so plentious that the smorgasbord it creates makes anything that happens in the summer pale in comparison.

On an early October weekend, a sports fan could literally sit down and feast on a full slate of college and NFL football games, NBA basketball and the MLB Playoffs. And if you’re a high school sports fan, you can throw in Friday Night Lights, as well as volleyball, softball and cross country.

So it’s not that the summer sports lineup is necessarily bad. It’s just can’t hold a candle to what happens in the fall.

That’s why you can turn on ESPN in July, and in the midst of Wimbledon coverage, MLB all-star weekend and NASCAR, you’ll see a smattering of college football previews and NFL news, as well as college recruiting news that’s seemingly covered nowadays almost like a sport itself.

I suppose the absence of can’t-miss sports television in July is perfect timing, given the amount of people who are traveling or on vacation. It’s also ideal for the summer time athletes who want to get out and make sports highlights of their own, whether at swimming pools, the golf course, the tennis courts or playing basketball on the blacktop at a local park.

But it’s tough timing for the sportswriter who has to dig deep to find content to fill the pages. It’s not a bad kind of tough, however. It forces you to find out about the human side of the athlete — the part of the athlete that is more heart than brawn.

You have time to cover things like the Roberto Clemente Little League World Series that hits McDonough later this month -- an event where it’s more about the kids having fun and learning the game for love rather than prizes and money.

You get insight on what players and coaches do during their sports’ lighter moments to not only physically prepare themselves for their season, but to get ready mentally as well.

You get to hang out with young — and young at heart — drivers who have unquenchable needs for speed, as they chase NASCAR dreams while creating memories of summer fun with each other in the process.

So, you see, the month of July isn’t all bad. It’s not merely an appetizer to the sports buffet that is the fall.

But it sure can make you hungry.

Gabriel Stovall covers sports for the Clayton News Daily and Henry Daily Herald newspapers. He can be reached at gstovall@news-daily.com. On Twitter? Follow him @GabrielStovall.