When I received a copy of the Maryland State Department of Education's heat acclimatization guidelines. my first thought was "do we really need a 15-page policy?"
The more I read, and I read it all, I came to the conclusion that all of the required guidelines for coaches, administrators and athletic trainers were contained in those pages. The definitions of heat acclimatization, what constitutes a practice, what is a walk-through, what is a recovery period and what is hydration were all there.
The purpose of these much needed guidelines, which were legislated by the General Assembly, is to minimize injury or even death as a result of oppressive heat. As one of the opening paragraphs states, "The need to dramatically increase awareness of the issue, recognize the symptoms of heat illness and treatment of suspected cases has become a primary consideration for early season practice routines."
Some of the report is redundant, but mostly it is well delivered. Could this report be shorter and still hit the important issues? Absolutely. But the guidelines are important to protect our student-athletes from preventable heat-related problems and also to minimize possible litigation.
Let's face it. These guidelines were established for a purpose.
However, I am certain that this policy, like others, will be violated by some if a violation or two hasn't already occurred.
I hope that all of our coaches abide by these new rules. I don't want to get an anonymous tip that someone violated the three-hour practice time or used equipment when it wasn't supposed to be used.
Wins are nice, but protecting the athletes is more important.
An engaging finish
There are two observations that came to mind at last Sunday's Athleta Iron Girl triathlon held at Centennial Park.
First, female triathletes tend to cheer for other female triathletes. Men triathletes don't cheer for their competitors. Someone at this year's race told me that it was because women have "inner grace." Men, on the other hand, seem to be more interested in their times.
My second observation has to do with standing next to Russ Burris, a very nervous man at the finish line. He was holding an engagement ring in his hands and waiting for his future fiancée to cross the finish line so that he could propose.
As soon as Brittany Ebbertt finished the race, Russ dropped to his knee and popped the question. Brittany accepted Russ's proposal and both were congratulated by the crowd that had gathered.
Good day for a bike ride
Put Sept. 15 down on your calendar. That's the day of the Columbia Association's annual BikeAbout. The 13-mile self-paced ride starts between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. at the Columbia lakefront. This year's route will take riders through parts of Oakland Mills, Long Reach and Town Center. The ride is free and highlights the history, art and culture of Columbia.
Volunteers are also needed. Flexible shifts are available between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Training and a free T-shirt are provided. To volunteer, email Columbia_Archives@ColumbiaAssociation.org. Pre-registration for the ride is encouraged and may be done online at bikeabout.eventbrite.com.
Oakland Mills pair shine
Oakland Mills baseball players Joe Zayatz and Kyle Madden-Stricker participated in the Blue-Grey Classic in Greensboro, N.C. and both sparkled. Joe went 3-for-4, including a double and a long home run. He also pitched two perfect innings. Kyle, a pitcher, struck out two while allowing one hit and no runs in three innings of work. He also picked off the only runner to reach base safely.