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Finding The Summer Fun
Marg Jackson

What better thing to do in the middle of summer than to go get photos at a football scrimmage?

Well, if you’re me, that’s a pretty good assignment. And, as luck would have it, the temperature was fairly cool for a 5:30 p.m. Central Valley start time in late June and we even had a little breeze. The 7-on-7 event hosted at Escalon High school on June 28 featured a handful of teams, no tackling, but getting the chance to work on offense and defense in a game-type situation. It was also one of the last times to play before the mandated ‘dead period’ for teams preparing for the upcoming fall sports campaign.

So it was just a few quick photos and the chance to stand on the sidelines for a bit, getting me thinking to the season ahead.

For the first time in all the years I have been here, varsity football at Escalon High School will not be under the guidance of Mark Loureiro. Last season was his final one, as he also retired from teaching at the end of the 2017-18 school year. It will be strange at first this fall, not seeing him on the field, not hearing him calling out last minute instructions to players, not making that Sunday evening phone call to go over the Friday night game. You talk to somebody every Sunday during football season for 20-plus years, you kind of expect to do it forever.

The good part – aside from ‘Coach Lou’ having the opportunity to enjoy his retirement – is that his successor, Andrew Beam, has been with the football program as the JV head coach for the past few years. Not only that, he is an EHS alum and I covered him while he was playing for the Cougars so there won’t be any learning curve for either of us, we know each other and have dealt with each other in terms of football already.

It was a little taste of things to come and I got to see some football again. The season will be here before we know it.

In the meantime, there is still plenty of summer to enjoy.

My sister and her husband, who live not too far away outside Suisun City, have been back east visiting and getting to celebrate my parent’s anniversary and my brother’s birthday with family gatherings. Yes, I’m jealous but my sister has sent some photos so at least I can share in the special days a little bit. Before they left, I was able to get over for a quick two-day visit with my sister and, on one of the days, she took me on a geocaching expedition.

The best way to describe geocaching is it’s a worldwide treasure/scavenger hunt, but with plenty of items hidden pretty much in your own backyard. There are clues, some coordinates to follow and often cryptic messages that you have to try and decipher in order to find the items. They can be just notes, trinkets; ones we found were hidden in containers on the underside of a bridge, tucked into holes in trees, dropped in to hollow sign posts along the side of a road, etc.

My nephew was the first in their family to get started on geocaching and after he had been involved for several years, my sister and brother-in-law thought they would give it a try. They have since become avid geocachers as well and their trip to NY featured plans to attend a few events back there. You log your finds and share any comments about the ‘hunt’ on a geocache website, connecting to others around the world.

It was a fun day and I can see how you could easily get caught up in it – not only finding the geocaches but also creating and hiding your own, which is the other side of the coin. But you need a smartphone or GPS to get started and, since I have neither, my geocaching exploits will likely be limited to visits with my sister.

That’s okay, fall sports are going to take up all my spare time pretty soon.


Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times, The Oakdale Leader and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.