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What are you doing now?

June 24, 2013
By MIKE MATHISON - Sports editor ( , The Herald-Star

Every coach says the team gets better during the summer.

Teams get better during the summer because individuals get better during the summer.

Your opponents appreciate the fact you are not getting better.

They like that.

They welcome that.

They enjoy that.

Your teammates very well don't like it, but everyone else does.

The three-sport athlete is really a five-sport athlete because you must include weightlifting and the summer activities.

There is also no such thing as a one-sport athlete anymore.

At the minimum, those athletes are three-sport athletes.

More than 100 years ago when I played, there was no such thing as a weightlifting program or mandatory summer activities.

Now, there is.

Parents can hate it, but it is there.

Athletes can detest it, but without the summer workouts, the team is no better than when the season ended.

If you were the fourth-best player on your team last year and the top three graduated, and you aren't spending the summer getting better, I guarantee you will not be the best player when camp opens because others will pass you in work ethic and ability.

If you think you should be captain because it's your turn and you do nothing during the summer, do not be surprised when the "C" is not on your uniform.

Athletes only get so much better during the season.

The summer is when you make, not shoot, 500 shots and 100 free throws a day.

The summer is when you lift in the morning and play some sport in the afternoon.

The summer is when you get better as a hurdler, a jumper, a long-distance runner, a long snapper, a swimmer, a band member, a catcher, a teammate.

The summer is not the time to rest on your alleged laurels.

If you are resting and your teammates are not, there will be a nice place on the bench waiting for you when your season begins.

Championship teams begin in the summer, not in August, November or March.

If your team is lifting at 7 a.m. and your opponents are not, you and your teammates are already better than your opponents.

If you want to play baseball in the spring and make an impact on the team, you play baseball during the summer and make an impact on the team.

If you want to be a better golfer come August, you spend the summer getting better.

And, junior golfers, go to the course with your shirts tucked in and spend forever on your short game. Keep your driver in the bag when you go to the range.

Want to be really good? Play nine holes from the most forward set of tees with two clubs and a putter and keep score.

If you want your serve to be better in volleyball or tennis, you spend the summer getting better.

If you want to stand atop the podium in Columbus or Charleston, you spend the summer getting better.

Parents, it's OK if your child is gone all day with all this sports stuff.

It is not all day day-in and day-out, but this all day thing is really good for teenagers.

How many of those days will they have in college?

I appreciate everyone who reads this column.

I know not everybody likes it and that is fine with me.

Make sure what you do as a teammate is so loud that people cannot hear what you say.

How about them Pirates?

Yes, there are still a lot of games left, but the team just swept a interleague series on the road for the first time in club history.

That tends to bode well for the rest of the season.

Plus, it's no so much that the Buccos are 16 games above .500, the best they were at any time last year.

It is that the 46-30 mark is the second-best in the majors, behind St. Louis, which also happens to lead the same division.

Pittsburgh is one game behind the Cardinals.

Can the team double its current mark and go 92-60?

Why not?

The Pirates brass have made a lot of really good moves over the past few years and they are paying dividends.

If reports are true, the Clippers have landed Doc Rivers as their next coach.

Congratulations to them. They have secured a huge piece in also keeping Chris Paul.

I would have no problem if they also traded DeAndre Jordan for Kevin Garnett.

Jordan averaged 24 minutes, 8.8 points and 7.2 rebounds a game last season, shot 64.3 percent from the floor (a lot from Lob City) and 38.6 percent from the free throw line.

Garnett averaged 29.7 minutes, 14.8 points and 7.8 rebounds a game, 49.6 percent from the floor and 78.4 from the line. He will bring a toughness to the Clippers that they do not currently have.

If you were coaching your own life, would your starting five be anger, hate, fear, judgment and impatience or love, forgiveness, abundance, charity and appreciation?

Please keep the Tyler Kincaid family in your prayers.

He was a teenager from Winfield, W.Va., who just finished his freshman year at West Virginia State, where he played baseball.

Kincaid was hit by a train and killed over the weekend.

Life is short.

Too short.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at

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