CAMDEN Now this is the time when one may think sports slows down. The College World Series, NBA Finals, NBA and NFL drafts are all over. However, this has been one of the most entertaining time periods of the year.
On a local scale, Arkansas Pulpwood just one its first USSSA State Championship and did so in dominating fashion. APW - especially its 18U team - has looked historically good throughout the summer and will play in the Sr. Babe Ruth Regional.
Bearden underwent an almost complete overhaul in its athletic department having to replace softball, football, baseball and boys basketball coaches. However, the school found its new head coach in Bearden alumni Greg Anthony. Anthony is an accomplished coach with more than 30 years under his belt. The rest of the coaching staff was filled in shortly and gracefully afterwards.
There has been a variety of different softball tournaments, with another on its way on Aug. 3, since the Carnes Park Softball field was revamped, AAU teams have found success and a NFL Skills and Development Camp will be held on July 20.
Then there’s the professional ranks.
Last week we witnessed a 15-year old girl named Coco Gauff defeat future tennis hall of famer Venus Williams at Wimbledon. If that wasn’t enough, Gauff made a phenomenal comeback against Polona Hercog when she saved two match points to win 3-6, 7-6, (9-7), 7-5.
Gauff’s run at Wimbledon ended against the 2018 French Open champion Simona Halep, but that was after becoming the youngest qualifier at the All England Club in the professional era and youngest Week 2 participant since 1991.
Then there was everything that happened in the NBA over the last three weeks. It would appear Thanos finally snapped his fingers, because the NBA is finally balanced.
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are playing for the Los Angeles Clippers and they are a favorite to win the NBA title.
The L.A. Clippers - arguably one of the most downtrodden franchises in the NBA - are finally championship contenders.
Lebron and Anthony Davis are playing for the Lakers, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving moved to Brooklyn and the Warriors added DeAngelo Russell to a back court already equipped with Klay Thompson and Steph Curry. Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Boston maintained championship caliber lineups and so did Utah, Denver and Portland. Miami, San Antonio and New Orleans improved under the radar and my beloved Oklahoma City Thunder appears to be in rebuilding mode after receiving a record amount of draft picks for Paul George.
Then there’s the summer league action.
Friday we saw Zion Williamson rip the ball out of the hands of a professional athlete like he was taking candy from a baby then mercilessly slam it home.
Maybe those earthquakes were just aftershocks from Williamson’s herculean play.
Sadly but wisely, New Orleans is sitting the 2019 No. 1 draft pick for the remainder of the summer after a minor knee injury.
And then there is the success of the U.S. Women’s Soccer team.
Before I dive to deep into the team’s accomplishments, I want to say they deserve equal pay and it’s long overdue. This is the teams’ fourth World Cup and its second in a row.
The team started in controversial but dominating fashion and ended with a 2-0 win over the Netherlands.
Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan are household names. The former is also very opinionated and active in regards to social issues whether one agrees with her stance or not.
For whatever reason, baseball traditionalist have mumbles about all of the home runs that have been hit during this MLB season. I don’t understand it because home runs make the game interesting and Monday’s home run derby proved that.
The second round match between Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Joc Pederson was down-right ridiculous in the best way. The duo went through tree tie-breakers before Guerrero finally one-upped his opponent. A tired Guerrero finished as runner up to Pete Alonso but set a new record with his 91 home runs on the night.
We can’t forget about the 5 second fight and Jon Bones Jones nearly being upset last Saturday.
This has been a Summer to remember for sports fans and I can only imagine what will happen in the Fall.