They say the summer is pretty much over once the Fourth of July is past.
I guess that’s because the rest of July seems to fly by and the start of school has been notorious in recent years for stealing forward further and further into August.
However, I’m not particularly bothered by how quickly this next month will likely speed past us because when the fall does get here there are some exciting encore performances to look forward to athletically.
One in particular that stands out to me on the professional sports level is the sophomore season for Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt.
As a rookie, Hunt led the league in rushing with 1,327 yards. He ran for eight touchdowns while also reaching the end zone three times through the air with 455 receiving yards.
Known as a guy with a propensity for not fumbling in college at Toledo, Hunt dropped a fumble on his first ever regular-season carry on opening night in Gillette Stadium against the New England Patriots.
He went on to run for 148 yards and a touchdown, as well as catching two touchdowns for 98 yards through the air in that contest, a 42-27 shellacking of a team that would go on to play in the Super Bowl at the end of the year.
With all the weapons lined up, the Chiefs offense this year should rival that of the Rams Super Bowl runs with the “Greatest Show on Turf.”
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes II brings a much more cannon-like arm to the offense after being taken by the Chiefs in the first round of the 2017 draft and after Alex Smith was dealt away to Washington in the offseason.
The Chiefs already had great targets lined up for Mahomes to throw to in Travis Kelce, one of the best tight ends in the National Football League, and one of, if not the fastest, wide receiver — Tyreek Hill.
However, just in case that wasn’t enough, they went out and added a big body in former first round pick Sammy Watkins. Watkins has disappointed in his first four pro seasons with the Buffalo Bills and the Rams. However, he’s still just 25 years old and will arguably have the best quarterback throwing him the ball that he’s seen in his professional career.
The fall will also bring the excitement of the St. Louis Cardinals postseason chase in the National League Central.
As it stood Tuesday morning, the Cardinals were 5.5 games out of first place behind the Milwaukee Brewers and just 2.5 games off the wildcard pace.
While the summer is rushing by, look for the Cardinals to potentially make a splash by trading for another key offensive producer. The Cardinals have been linked to many a Manny Machado rumor. However, that price tag might be too high for a player that is going to hit free agency at the end of the year and command a long and pricy new contract.
Locally, what most people have to be looking forward to is the high school football season. It will certainly be the talk of the town to see what St. Francis Borgia can do to follow up on a 2017 season where the Knights went undefeated until the district championship game with Rolla.
Across town, it will be intriguing to see if a much-touted freshman group from last season can start making early contributions at the varsity level as sophomores this fall and start to turn around a program coming off an 0-10 season.
St. Clair would seemingly remain a threat behind a consistently strong running game.
Pacific comes off its best season under the tenure of Head Coach Clint Anderson, but also loses a very good senior class that included The Missourian Player of the Year Matt Strong.
Union, I have to think of as a wildcard coming into this season. I saw the Wildcats play two games last year that were on opposite ends of the spectrum, against Washington and St. Clair.
However, the local encore performance I’m most looking forward to is seeing how the Washington boys soccer team can follow up on its second place finish in the state last season.
The team loses a lot of seniors from that run in the state tournament, but returns two key playmakers that thrived in the clutch in Jeremiah Collins and Michael Andrews.
Set pieces late in a game during the district and state playoff runs were almost a given that the two would combine to make some magic happen for the Soccer Jays.
Collins also showed he has ice water running through his veins after his game-tying score against Harrisonville in the final seconds of regulation helped the Jays complete a come-from-behind state semifinal win in overtime.
All the more impressive, that was accomplished while the team was a man down after Andrews was controversially red-carded early in the semifinal match and lost for the remainder of that game and the championship match against Parkway Central.
Both locally and professionally, there is certainly a lot to look forward to once the seasons start to change.