Some general observations while enjoying the return of mountain bike season in central Pennsylvania.
n This is a great time of year to head to one of the area's hiking and biking trails. It's not too hot, muggy or buggy, and the springtime sights throughout the Alleghenies are amazing. The wildflowers are in full bloom, and it's baby animal season, so you never know what you might see, from ducklings to fawns to black bear cubs.
State Parks provide a beautiful backdrop for hiking and biking, with trails for a variety of skill levels. Rails to Trails of Central PA offer a relaxing flat ride, perfect for families. And for the true mountain bike warriors, there is the challenging Allegrippis Trails at Raystown Lake, named one of the top four best bike trails in North America by Men's Journal.
n The Penn State softball team recently wrapped up its season, falling just shy of a 30-win campaign. The team's next home game will be played on a brand new home field as construction is under way on a new softball stadium.
Nittany Lion Softball Park will be a wonderful place to watch and play college softball, hopefully drawing more high-level recruits as well as fans to Happy Valley. In the meantime, there is plenty of great college softball on ESPN. Second-seed Michigan is representing the Big Ten very well.
n A new era of women's athletics is one step closer in Loretto with the hiring of the first women's bowling coach in St. Francis University history. Tom Falbo takes the reins of the emerging program with 30 years of tournament experience, including coaching instruction from a couple of bowling's best - PBA Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III and Kim Adler, a pro champion on the women's tour.
The new team provides yet another opportunity for women athletes to take their talent to the next level while pursuing a quality education. Kudos to St. Francis for expanding its horizons.
n Good luck to all of the local athletes heading to the PIAA Track and Field Championships this week.
n Memorial Day weekend is almost here, and with it comes the unofficial start of summer. While it's time to fire up the grill and enjoy summer sports leagues and recreation of all kinds, it's also a chance to remember the men and women who have lost their lives in military service to our country.
On the athletic field we measure success in wins and losses; on the battlefield the wins are often up for debate, the losses are often limbs and lives. Amid this weekend's celebrations, let us remember the sacrifices of our fighting men and women overseas and here at home.
Kellie Goodman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears on Tuesdays.