Some best wishes as summer approaches

Some general observations while hoping for a little bit more spring before the all-out scorching heat of summertime begins.

The mailbox is brimming with catalogs capitalizing on the longer and warmer days. Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, so sale advertisements abound for all things outdoors, from bathing suits to bike helmets.

And there is no shortage of things to do, from non-competitive charity walks, fun runs and bike rides to highly-competitive marathons and triathlons, which allow weekend warriors to set new goals and take their workouts to another level.

Good luck to all of the local athletes competing at the PIAA Track & Field meet this weekend at Shippensburg. The event is one of the great spectacles of Pennsylvania sport. What may look like mass chaos is actually a highly-organized and well-orchestrated championship experience, one that athletes will always remember.

The PIAA Tennis Championships may not draw the monster crowds found at track and field, but the accomplishment of qualifying and competing on the state level is commendable; win or lose, the healthy sport is one to be enjoyed for a lifetime.

High school baseball and softball teams begin their postseason quests, battling end-of-the-school-year distractions and celebrations like prom, class trips and graduation. Kudos to the coaches and players who can keep their focus as they pursue district glory and more.

Tournaments will soon begin for traveling baseball, softball, soccer and basketball squads, as well as young golfers, providing elite opportunities for local athletes to hone their skills among the region’s best. For many it will be a family affair as parents, grandparents and siblings alter vacation schedules to take in athletic events all summer long.

Penn State Lady Lion basketball player Candis Agee will spend part of her summer competing internationally as part of the USA Basketball Women’s U19 Team. The sophomore center will travel with team USA to Lithuania for the FIBA World Championship tournament, a tremendous experience athletically, personally and culturally.

St. Francis University continues to celebrate the “student” in student-athlete. The Red Flash now boast 14-and-a-half years of cumulative grade point averages for athletes of over 3.0. This spring, that average was bolstered by 33 student-athletes earning perfect 4.0 GPA’s and nearly 300 who will be found on the spring honor roll. St. Francis teams are not only setting a good example, but setting a standard.

Congratulations to Dalton Igoe, who celebrated the one-year anniversary of his new heart over the weekend. The Altoona teenager garnered attention from elite athletes like Andrew McCutchen and Ben Roethlisberger in the months before and after his miraculous transplant. A year later, he continues to inspire with his positive attitude and infectioussmile. Wishing Dalton many more years of happy and healthy celebrations.

Goodman Shaffer can be reached at Her column appears on Tuesdays.