The summer months are often non-stop times for prep coaches and athletic directors who spend hours mulling over the next year's sports' schedules.
Payson High wrestling coach Dennis Pirch is one who recently had to delve into his team's winter schedule to make some changes.
A match originally slated for Dec. 9 against Salpointe will instead pit the Horns against Sunnyside and Flowing Wells. The match will be contested in Tucson. Pirch said the changes had to be made because of conflicts on the Salpointe schedule.
Also on the 2000-2001 PHS wrestling agenda is an inaugural visit from a powerhouse New Mexico school.
On Jan. 27 in Wilson Dome, Aztec High will take on the five-time defending state champion Longhorns in a clash that boasts national significance. Aztec visits Payson with a national top-20 power ranking to its credit. If the Horns slip past the New Mexico crew, it would be a tremendous lift for Payson's already sterling mat reputation.
Next fall, youngsters and their parents will once again face the age-old question surrounding sports participation.
Public school offerings will be plentiful including soccer, football, cross country and volleyball. Also, scores of volunteers will help field youth teams in those sports.
Successful involvement in athletics demands huge sacrifices from the young players and their families.
Some ask, are the sacrifices worth it? What's to be learned?
Probably the best answer to those questions was issued years ago by former Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens, who said:
"As long as young athletes can learn from men and women coaching from their homes, from their churches and classrooms, a code of ethics by which to live ... to respect the rights of others and learn to play the games of life as well as the game of athletics according to the rules of society in which they live those children have won the greatest championship any person could ever win."
Celestial practices heat up
With all eyes focused on post-season tournament play, Payson Little League all-star players are tuning up their skills in daily practice sessions.
The Minor Division all-stars practice from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays on the Payson High School girls' softball field. The Major Division stars take to the field weekdays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. for their practice sessions.
This year, the Major Division Area One and District finals will be played in Payson.
The Area tournament hits the diamond beginning at 10 a.m. July 10 when Flagstaff takes on Mount Elden. The Payson team debuts at 8 p.m. the same day against Winslow. Should the locals win the LL Area tournament, they would earn a berth in the District finals which begin July 17.
The Payson Minor Division All-Stars will travel to Flagstaff July 6 to begin postseason play.