I won’t let you tell me the summer is coming to a close. Yes, ballplayers at the parks in Oak Park and River Forest are slowly diminishing. Pool patrons are such fair-weather fans. The lush green color of the patio umbrella has faded to cream-the lawn too. The watermelon is watered down, the lemonade tasteless. My sandals reek of an odor unidentifiable, but mostly nauseating.

Here I am, convincing myself of summer’s demise when this particular column is supposed to be convincing you that summer is far from over. There is more to be done, to be seen, more body parts to be sunburned. Summer is far from over, I say. Here’s a look at what should keep you enjoying what is far from over.

The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games begin Friday. You’ll likely be on your couch in the evening watching the competitive zeal of these athletes, but at the very least you can take solace in knowing that someone is working up a sweat. If you don’t feel the warmth of summer resonating through your flat-screen-especially with beach volleyball, baseball and softball being played-then you’ve already crossed over to the frigid side. There are 25 other summer sports on the Olympic program for you to find and follow. Swimming is expected to be quite exciting with Michael Phelps going for a record eight gold medals. The only thing that can burst this hype is if Phelps bronzes or silvers out in his first two events. No matter what happens, it will be interesting to see.

There’s a little professional ballclub named the Cubs, who happen to be in first place in their division, and baseball in Chicago is not likely to die a gloomy death anytime soon. We just may have the opportunity to see the ivy at Wrigley Field turn red right before our eyes. If all goes well, the summer may not end until late October. And if the Cubs make it to October and win in October in the 100th year of such an undertaking, and you’re a Cubs fan, then for you it will truly be the summer that never ends.

I understand the White Sox are doing well, too. What a thrill it would be for Sox fans to return to the World Series after a three-year hiatus, but, of course, not exactly on the same scale as a Cubs World Series Championship. If the Gods above decide to forgo a fiery asteroid’s collision with earth and pit the Cubs and Sox against one another in the World Series, then there won’t be an SPF strong enough to keep us from burning with intensity. Aloe won’t help a bit.

Squirrel hunting in Illinois began last Friday. Get out and grab yourself a squirrel, but beware, the daily bag remains five. Remember, red squirrels are protected. And good news! The one that died in your attic doesn’t count as a catch.

Nothing says summer lives on like the Olympics, a baseball team trying to squelch 100 years of disappointment and squirrel huntin’.

Editor’s note: Brad Spencer does not condone squirrel hunting.

Contact: bspencer@wjinc.com

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Brad Spencer

Brad Spencer has been covering sports in and around Oak Park for more than a decade, which means the young athletes he once covered in high school are now out of college and at home living with their parents...