Football championships are won in the fall, but players are made in the summer.
Check out most any successful sports program in Arizona and you'll find the common thread that runs through them is the dedication shown by the athletes and the coaches in the off-season.
The days of showing up at the first practice and going on to have a successful season have gone by the wayside.
Today, weight-training and sports camps are almost prerequisites for championship runs.
Youngsters, age eight through incoming eighth-graders, will have the opportunity for a jump start on next year's season -- whether it be at Rim Country Middle School or in the Central Arizona Youth Football Association -- at the Learn it the Longhorn Way football camp.
The camp runs from 8 a.m. until noon, July 19 through 21 on the Payson Elementary School field.
Some of the most valuable skills youngsters can acquire at the camp involve technique. Many a good player has stumbled because he never mastered the fundamentals and nuances of the game.
Another important aspect of the camp involves proper stretching exercises as methods of avoiding injuries.
Also, if your youngster isn't really sure he wants to take up the game of football, the camp will provide a taste of what the sport is all about.
And, of course, there's no contact to send hesitant first-timers reeling.
To participate in the camp, pick up a registration form at the offices of The Payson Roundup and -- because of the late date -- show up Monday morning on the PES field. Camp clinicians will gladly register your youngster. The fee is $30 which includes insurance.
The good news for in-line skaters and skateboarders is that a three-man crew arrived from Colorado Tuesday morning to begin installation of the $60,000 worth of equipment at the new skate park at Rumsey. The work should be completed late this week.
Pros in town
Hey, youngsters, don't forget to show up between 4 and 6 p.m. next Friday, July 23, at the new PostNet store at the Ponderosa Village Shopping Center.
Arizona Cardinal defensive linemen Andrew Wadsworth and Simeon Rice will be on hand to sign autographs.
The duo are two of the most accomplished defensive players in the National Football League, and both have bright futures ahead of them.
Months after visiting them in Payson, you can click on the tube and watch them take on the Dallas Cowboys.
Registration begins Monday and continues until July 30 for the 1999 Fall Youth Soccer League for youngsters ages 4 through 9. Sign-up may be completed during normal working hours at the Parks and Recreation Department located at 1000 W. Country Club Drive. The fee is $20, and games will be played weeknights in September and October.