Sheridan’s consistently warmer weather means the start of several things.

First, more and more folks have started wandering Main Street — window shopping, stopping in local stores and spending a little more cash. Funny that warm weather prompts that.

Second, the grass has finally reached a length (at least in my yard) that if it isn’t cut soon, I’ll need a much larger lawn mower.

And, finally, it means the start of local summer sports. Sure, soccer games still monopolize weekends, and we haven’t even reached the Snickers Big Horn Soccer Cup. But each night when I get home from work, I can hear the sound of baseballs clinking off metal bats over at Thorne-Rider Park. Ahhh… the sounds of the season.

This year, I’ve volunteered to help organize and coach a new fastpitch softball club in town. Cloud Peak Fastpitch is in its inaugural year, so we’re starting small. It will be just a six-week season with two practices per week and one night of games. The teams will play each other locally this summer, but we’re looking forward to growing in the future. Plans include having traveling teams that head to tournaments around the state and region throughout the summer.

Cloud Peak is probably most well-known for its volleyball club, which has been around for a few years now. Dani Brinkerhoff is the club director and recruiting advisor. I’ve only recently met her, but I’m encouraged by her commitment to the club’s mission.

Of course, all of the coaches and board members want to further the sport and teach and mentor young athletes. But the entire entity has a focus on core values, too. Perseverance, empowerment, positive attitudes, sportsmanship and strong work ethics sit at the center of what Peak hopes female athletes learn by participating in the clubs. 

I’ve said it many, many times. The years I played softball at Northwestern University taught me more than I recognized at the time. I loved it.

After my school year and softball season ended, in the summers in Evanston, Illinois, I spent a lot of time coaching. I led day camps that focused on teaching young children the basics of baseball, soccer and basketball. In the evenings, I coached a 12U softball team called the Evanston Express. I had a blast. 

Practices were tough. We worked hard. We got better. Weekends meant tournaments — a lot of time and energy. But they also meant sunshine, activity and camaraderie. I hope as we grow the Cloud Peak Fastpitch organization here in Sheridan I’ll get to share that joy with other families and their daughters.

If you’re interested in playing in this summer’s club, stop by the parent/player/coach meeting set for Tuesday. We’ll gather at 5 p.m. at the Sheridan Memorial Hospital downtown conference room, located at 61 S. Gould St. The cost for the year is just $75 per player, but you’ll be required to get some of your own gear (helmet, socks, etc.).