Goodbye to those lazy, hazy, ever dwindling days of summer

Remember when back-to-school time was in the fall? Not anymore. Students in Columbus return to the classroom next week. I’m sorry, but the first week of August is hardly fall.

I know, under the new-fangled calendar, kids have longer spring breaks and longer Christmas breaks than they used to, but I’m not sure that makes up for losing an entire month of summer.

Had I been forced as a kid to spend every August in the classroom instead of on the ball diamond or in the swimming pool, I’m sure I would have grown up to be a grumpy old man. But luckily for me my Augusts were my own, so that didn’t happen.

Instead I grew up to be extremely delusional about my cheerful personality.

These days summer vacation lasts approximately 36 days, give or take a few. If you want to hang out at the pool trying to impress your summer crush, you’d better hope we don’t get a rainy spell or you might miss your chance.

Want to see all the summer blockbuster movies while it’s still summer? You need to see an average of two a day to cram them all in before fall arrives on Aug. 1.

It is quite clear that most experts on education now view an August spent outside the classroom as a waste of time. So, for the foreseeable future, early August is back-to-school time.

As our young people, spines bent under the weight of their backpacks, head back to class next week, muttering “It’s 95 degrees! Why aren’t I at the pool?” or “Ugh, this is really cutting into my Pokémon Go time,” let’s wish them well.

Let’s also hope that missing August doesn’t cause them to grow up to be grumpy old men and women.

But it should be an exciting school year. As if the reading, writing and arithmetic aren’t enough to look forward to, before Thanksgiving break students will know who will be the next president of the United States, the next governor of Indiana and the next state superintendent of public instruction.

Soon enough there will be all manner of football, basketball, swimming, soccer, volleyball, etc. games, meets, matches and tournaments to play and/or attend.

For those not interested in sports (and many who are), there’s plenty of other things to keep them occupied: student theater, band, choir, homework, academic competitions, service clubs, canned food drives, homework, senior projects, new romance, heartbreak, peer pressure, homework, part-time jobs, days of testing, new friends and more homework.

Aah, to be that young again. No thanks!

Before students are set free for summer break next May — which, by the way, is about as much summer as August is fall — we’ll have a new president, a new Super Bowl champion, new Olympic medalists, a new World Series winner, new NCAA men’s and women’s basketball champs and hopefully some local state championship teams and individuals.

It’s not only the backpack-bearing students returning to school next week. It’s also show time for teachers and administrators. In my experience as a student and a parent, a great teacher can make a positive difference in the life of his or her charges.

Let’s give teachers everything they need to do right by our children. And let’s remember to thank them for all they do, sometimes under very difficult conditions.

Whoops, I think I hear the bell. Take your seats everyone!

Doug Showalter can be reached at 379-5625 or dshowalter@therepublic.com.