Time Out: August 6, 2014
Unless you’re a high school athlete attending a sports camp, team sports activity slows to a crawl in the summer in the Catskills. In days of old, summer baseball was huge in almost every small community in our county. At its peak, American Legion baseball was everywhere and almost every Delaware County town or hamlet fielded a youth baseball team. Sixteen teams represented Delaware County communities during its zenith. For the most part, Legion baseball in rural New York State is a thing of the past.
Baseball was king
In earlier eras, baseball wasn’t simply an activity for youngsters in Delaware County towns. Many communities supported adult baseball town teams with lively and competitive adult baseball play common throughout the region. When adult baseball play slowed, it was replaced by legions of softball players passionate about the camaraderie that came with the shortened version of the diamond game. Over time, adult baseball and softball play in Delaware County has pretty much gone the way of the buffalo.
The lack of team sports summer activity in the Catskills doesn’t mean that there is a dearth of sports participation activities here. It more reflects a shift from “we” to “me” with sports’ participation moving from participation in team sporting events to passion for more individualized sporting activity.
With a backdrop like our Catskill Mountains, there are few settings that match the natural wonders athletes pursuing individual sports passions can find in other locales. Golf enthusiasts can find a full menu of one-of-a kind golf choices with varying levels of challenge, almost all set in venues with magnificent scenic mountain views.
One of the fastest growing Catskill Mountain sports, cycling is a summer rage in our mountains. Mountain roads, covered bridges, reservoirs and lakes, rustic village settings, and stunning mountaintop views await the hordes of cyclists finding our Catskills a perfect setting in which to ride.
In some ways, water defines our Catskill Mountains. Open water in the form of lakes, creeks, rivers, and reservoirs attract boaters of every persuasion. A paddling adventure can cover the full gamut; quiet, soulful rides that soak in the beauty and wilderness found in our mountains to a wild and bouncy white experience.
Hikers from all over the world are drawn to the numerous trails, natural landscapes, and picturesque scenery of the Catskills. Few thrills can match the excitement that comes with observing wildlife in its natural habitat and hikers wax poetic about the peace of mind and connection with their inner soul that comes from a grand hiking adventure.
Hooked on fishing
Fisherman laud the Catskills as the source of some of the best angling in the Northeast. Trout of different varieties; brown trout, rainbow trout and brook trout are local favorites but devout fisherman will enjoy the diversity that comes with the different catches possible in the Catskills.
Just as the landscape of the incredible mountains where we live slowly evolves and changes over time, the sporting activities of the people who live and visit here are also transformed. Gone are the summer team sporting activities that reigned for decades of Catskill summers, replaced by the individual pursuits of passionate athletes eager to try their hand at some summer Catskill Mountain fun.