This week, local students have a week off for spring break.
As a sports writer, I haven't been able to enjoy too many spring breaks. It’s a busy time for me, with the job going full throttle, but that's OK because I enjoy this season most.
Eleven years ago, I managed to squeeze in a few days off about this time of year and it was one of the best weeks of my life.
I'm not too old to enjoy local beaches, but I really don't want to contend with college students for a place in the sand. Instead of doing the beach thing, I headed south and took in a couple of spring training baseball games.
I was at my parents' house in DeLand and my dad and I made a trip across the state to Clearwater to see his favorite team, the Philadelphia Phillies, take on the Boston Red Sox in a mid-week game. That Saturday, we headed 60 miles south to the spring training home of the Florida Marlins as they hosted my favorite team, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Joining Dad and I for the Marlins-Dodgers game was Stuart, my then 9-year old nephew.
I’ve never had children, so spending that afternoon with Dad and Stuart was one of the favorite days of my life. It was so much fun sitting in the stands with Dad and watching Stuart figure out the best way to approach players for an autograph.
Stuart is 20 and a strapping 235-pound wrestler at the University of North Florida. Earlier this month, he became the school's first All-American in the sport as he placed sixth at the National Collegiate Wrestling Association National Championships.
Dad is 80 and not in good health, so I treasure every moment and memory we share.
If I could turn back the clock to special days, I'd revisit that warm afternoon 11 years ago as Dad, Stuart and I took in a spring training game.
Spring break is a time for making memories with family, friends and teammates. This also is one of the most dangerous times for young people as they stretch their wings and extend the apron strings.
Whether you take in a spring training game or a day at the beach, be careful and enjoy the moment.
And please, come back safely next week.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.