By Walter GeigerAround our household, just a glance at J.J., the family’s yellow Lab, confirms the dog days of summer are upon us. The big dog just languishes, sprawled out in various postures of relaxation in the coolest corner of the garage.It is hot, though not as hot as it could be, and humid ‘“ two prime indicators we are enduring the sultry days of summer. But, there is a hint of fall on the breeze when you can find one. The Georgia Bulldogs are about a third of the way through preseason practice in preparation for the big opener August 31 at Clemson. Other college teams are also working out, including the Mercer Bears where football is being rejuvenated and opportunities will arise for local athletes.The Lamar County Trojans and the Pike County Pirates are also hard at work. They are practicing in pads now. I attended a scrimmage Friday and was impressed with how the coaches and players paid attention to hydration. I never leave one of these hot summer workouts without a greater admiration for the kids out there doing the grunt work and the coaches who drive and prepare them for battle on the gridiron. Both the Trojans and Pirates have game simulation scrimmages this week. Pike opens the season August 30 at Upson-Lee while Lamar hosts Spalding County that night. The two teams square off September 13 in the Battle of Potato Creek.That game will be played in Zebulon.Football players are not the only athletes preparing for the season. Softball is underway while crosscountry and volleyball players are readying for interscholastic play.Club and recreation soccer teams are also about to kick off their fall seasons. The fastest growing sport in the nation will keep hundreds of parents hereabouts on the road until Thanksgiving.Meanwhile, outdoorsmen are preparing dove fields and food plots, cleaning shotguns and zeroing in rifles in preparation for dove and deer seasons which loom ahead on the sports calendar.Fall and all the activities that make it so special are right around the corner.That makes the dog days of summer bearable.