A Sportin’ Summer
By Matt Wilson
Looking for a place to take your grandchildren on a spring afternoon? The Bay area has plenty of sporting events for the entire family to enjoy. From college lacrosse to professional golf, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you are looking for competitive sports, a sporting event in a relaxed atmosphere, or a game that is entertaining for all ages, the Bay area offers them all. The warm weather in May and June makes this the perfect opportunity to get out and explore some of the more interesting and lesser known sporting events in the area.
If you are interested in lacrosse, which is becoming one of the most popular and fastest growing sports in the country, both the NCAA men’s and women’s national lacrosse end-of-the season tournaments will be held nearby. The United States Naval Academy is hosting the men’s quarterfinal round at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis May 16-17. The women’s lacrosse NCAA Championship will be held at Towson University May 22-24.
If you have never watched a college lacrosse game, it is something the whole family should experience and may enjoy. It’s a fast-paced game with a lot of action that keeps everyone entertained —regardless of age. It’s played in May, when the weather is just right for sitting in the bleachers. Also, the games normally don’t take more than two hours. Sitting in the bleachers doesn’t get uncomfortably long and if you have children with you, it should hold their attention to the end.
June brings a professional Nationwide Tour Golf Tournament, the Melwood Prince George’s County Open, held at The Country Club at Woodmore in Mitchellville. The Nationwide Tour is just one step below the PGA, so the competition is extremely impressive, but the crowds and commotion are not nearly what you would find at a PGA event. The tournament is held June 4-7 and is a great experience and a must-see if you’ve never been to a professional golf tournament. It not only offers a relaxed atmosphere, but the opportunity to walk around and experience the scenery instead of sitting still in the bleachers at a ball game. The event is not overcrowded, so you have the opportunity to follow whichever golfers you choose and get much closer to the action than you could imagine. And if you are tired of walking around, there are plenty of places for you and your family to sit, spread out and watch several different holes and golfers. Woodmore, a beautifully landscaped golf course, is also easy on the eyes.
There are also great volunteer opportunities available the week of the tournament if you are interested in helping organize and oversee the festivities for the week and still enjoy watching golf in the process. With a $35 volunteer fee, you get a uniform shirt and hat with the tournament logo, a meal for each day worked, two weekly grounds passes that give you access to the tournament and a volunteer appreciation party. There are also a variety of ways to get involved including, being a walking scorer, providing transportation and housing for golf professionals, and more stationary jobs such as checking the credentials of fans entering the clubhouse. To fill out a volunteer application, visit the tournament Web site www.melwoodgolf.org
There are also numerous minor league baseball teams in the Bay area, some that you’ve probably heard of, and others that you may not have realized were here. The great thing about minor league baseball is the convenience of going, the inexpensive tickets and the great activities they have to entertain kids. Many minor league stadiums have playgrounds and activities geared to the little ones, located conveniently in the stadiums so you can keep an eye on the game as well as an eye on the playground. A minor league baseball game is the kind of activity that you can simply decide one afternoon that you would like to go, there is no planning required.
Bay area minor league baseball teams include the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in Waldorf, the Delmarva Shorebirds in Salisbury, the Aberdeen IronBirds in Aberdeen and the Bowie Baysox in Bowie.
For schedules, tickets or more information:
NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championships
NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Championships
Melwood Prince George’s County Open
Southern Maryland Blue Crabs