Some random observations while enjoying my summer vacation:
n The 2008 Summer Olympic Games begin this week in Beijing, China with the overall theme "One World, One Dream" - the idea that people around the globe, of all nations, colors, creeds and languages hope for the same bright future with world-wide peace.
With so many negative issues arising leading up to the games (security concerns, doping scandals, political problems), here's hoping the spirit of the Olympics carry not only through the next few weeks of competition, but far beyond.
The world could learn a lesson from the true Olympic athlete who competes with the spirit of friendship and fairness.
n Former Penn State basketball player Jan Jagla will be in Beijing as a member of the German National Team.
Jagla is a native of Berlin, and he joins NBA players Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman on their home nation's squad. Jagla played for three seasons at Penn State, and left Happy Valley in 2004 to pursue a professional career overseas.
He currently plays for Joventut Badalona of Spain.
n There's nothing like the roar of race engines through the Pocono Mountains.
Popular in the Keystone state, Mark Martin is coming out of his partial retirement to run full-time with Hendrick Motorsports in 2009. By Daytona, Martin will be 50 years young and still hungry for a championship as he leaves DEI to join the gang with Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon.
The three Hendrick headliners are in the top six in the point standings. Martin will undoubtedly be a sentimental favorite as the all-time Nationwide series leader makes a last dash for a Cup title.
n In this season of crazy gas prices, more and more people are opting for two wheels instead of four, and there are many great places to enjoy biking in central Pennsylvania.
From the beautiful (and forgivingly flat) Rails to Trails routes around the region to the mountain bike runs at state parks like Canoe Creek and Shawnee, the options to ride and sites to enjoy are limited only by our own ability and energy levels.
In a seven-county area, more than 1,000 miles of cycling routes have been developed. Many are available on the internet at www.theallegenies.com.
n Congratulations to Easter Seals Central Pennsylvania for another year of the Softball Marathon.
This fundraiser continues to be a highlight of the summer. And kudos to all of those who donate and/or participate, especially those who take the field through the overnight hours to help children and adults with disabilities live, learn, work and play.
Kellie Goodman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears on Tuesdays in the Mirror.