Rec & Sports » Play

Goodbye Summer


Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer are swiftly becoming nothing more than fond memories—or in the case of BW staffers, yet another season that has flown by without our really noticing it, leaving us regretful of missing out on days spent camping, boating or partaking of general nothingness.

Big yellow buses are once again rolling through the streets, and kids desperate to show off their new school outfits are sweating in fall and winter clothes. It all balances out, though, since they'll be the ones shivering at bus stops while wearing shorts in April.

Labor Day will come and go as this edition of Boise Weekly hits stands, and the traditional kick-offs to fall in Boise are just around the corner: Art in the Park and the Hyde Park Street Fair.

Soon, we'll be digging out our jackets and socks, but there is one last bastion of summer—a few fleeting days in which to bask in the glory of long warm evenings spent sipping a beer. But the opportunities are limited and immediate.

The Boise Hawks baseball team will finish out its 2008 home season with six home games against the Yakima Bears and the Spokane Indians this week. Unfortunately, by the time readers pick up this paper, there will only be five more chances to catch the boys of summer in Boise.

The team will take the field at 7:15 p.m. daily from Wednesday, Aug. 27, through Sunday, Aug. 31.

Those who have attended minor league games know the simple pleasure that comes with spending an evening at the ballpark. Even those of us who could sooner study nuclear fission than keep baseball statistics during a game can appreciate the simple enjoyment of the experience.

It's not just nostalgia for days gone by. There's a reason why baseball has, and will always be, considered America's pastime, and the sport is at its purest at the minor league level.

Before multi-million-dollar salaries and endorsement deals, before Hollywood celebrities and steroid accusations, there's a simple love for the game. Minor league players, many of whom are also college students, sacrifice a lot just for the chance to play.

They don't make much money, many live with host families, and they are run ragged with a game schedule that would make the most seasoned veteran flinch. They play nearly every night through the summer, oftentimes getting on a bus after the game and driving hundreds of miles to turn around and play the next evening.

They work hard and sleep little, but they get to spend their summer playing the game they love with the off chance that they'll catch the eye of a major league team.

For the fans though, it's a matter of some pure, old-fashioned, family-oriented entertainment.

Of course, it's not all as completely wholesome as it sounds. Yes, the ballpark is a great place to take kids, but it's also a great destination to meet up with friends and enjoy a frosty beverage while watching the game. Don't partake of the adult beverages too freely, though. Not only are cops always on site, but nothing is worse than making an ass out of yourself in front of somebody's kids.

Public humiliation aside, these last few games are like a last chance at summer; one final opportunity to appreciate something that seems to go by faster each year.

Hawks Memorial Stadium, 5600 Glenwood St., Garden City, $5-$14,