It's been a pretty special summer for athletics in Hermiston, and who could believe that there's really only about a month left? Not me, that's for sure.

The old cliche goes,"time flies when you're having fun." If applied to this summer, I've had a blast.

With the conclusion of the Takin' It to the Streets 3 on 3 basketball tournament Sunday, the only real big sporting event left is undoubtedly the grandest of them all, the Farm-City Pro Rodeo. There's the races at Columbia Motor Speedway through September, as well, but the rodeo is the king of all Hermiston events while school isn't in session.

After looking back at what has happened in the area during the summer, the community should be beaming with pride at the accomplishments of everyone involved, especially the youth.

Whether it was the 10-11 year-old softball team earning second place in the state tournament last week, or the Babe Ruth baseball teams heading off the state this week or the hoops tournament - just to name a few - Hermiston has become a town that's providing an environment for future success in athletics.

For me, the summer usually means a little more down time, since I don't have to run the wheels off my car following all the area high school teams. But this summer has been a little more active around town because players and coaches realize the summer is a perfect time for preparation. I've seen the girls soccer team and the football team doing summer workouts in the mornings and late afternoons, along with tennis players refining their strokes while the weather is still nice.

With American Legion baseball and ASA softball going on as well, those are just extensions of the spring high school season, making those seasons last from late-February to late-July. In other words, that's a long time for young people to commit to something.

And coaches who understand that impress me as well. Since Hermiston isn't all that big of the town, relatively speaking, the kids are involved in more than one sport, most of the time. The American Legion team, the Devin Oil Hermiston Heat, took an entire week off so some of the players could attend the high school football team's camp in Tri-Cities. Now while it may have been a necessity because head coach Brent Mattson wouldn't have had enough guys to play, it still shows that Mattson understands there's more to a kid's life than baseball.

Summertime is a great time to watch sports and play them, no matter what sport it is. The success of the team's in the summer can usually be extrapolated and applied to the high school season. If athletes put the work in now in this very crucial preparation phase, time can also fly by during the high school season as well. As we all know, winning is fun.

So if it's more youth sports you are craving, or having a look at the big shots in the rodeo arena, Hermiston is the right place for you. You have a chance to see athletes develop skills and foster friendships on one end, and see the passion and excellence athletes can achieve on the other.

Billy would love to hear from you. Write him at

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