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Marg-Ins Springing On A Whirlwind
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Seasons are turning ... my San Jose Sharks are still in the thick of it in the National Hockey League and my San Francisco Giants still have a chance. Oh, wait, of course they do, it's only spring training.

We hit 80 degrees the other day; I almost stopped to get a photo of the big thermometer boasting that temperature for the paper because it doesn't seem like it should shoot straight to 80 for the first day of spring but that's just about what it did.

Regardless, we may have a random shower here or there on the way yet, but as amazing as it seems, winter is over.

This past weekend, we had 'Opening Day' of baseball and softball for both Riverbank and Oakdale, while Escalon got a head start on both of them and kicked their season off earlier in the month. It was amazing to see the amount of kids and there was such an air of excitement to the entire day. The presentation of the colors, the ceremonial first pitch, the games with the crack of the bat and the kids sliding into home.

It was just a lot of fun. Oakdale's softball program also had a brief moment of silence to start their season, in memory of two coaches who passed away since last season; Bud Taylor - who battled cancer - and Heidi Brunk, who died of a head injury suffered at a family gathering. Daughters of each coach involved in the softball program brought in the flags to start the opening ceremonies on Saturday, one of those times that the ink smeared on my notebook ...

So softball is on and my daughter has traded her soccer cleats for slider shorts and a batting helmet. I remember when she was younger she was steadfast in her determination not to play softball because she didn't want to get 'helmet hair.' Thankfully, she got past that little roadblock and is now in her second year of rec softball. She likes the game but I think it is just as much about being part of a team that she enjoys, working together toward a common goal.

As we move into the spring season, it's also time for the annual Relay for Life in Oakdale. We are full speed ahead there as well, our 'Leadin' Ladies and Gents' team gearing up for the big 24-hour event. Riverbank does theirs a little later in the year and Escalon does send some teams to the Oakdale event, while some teams have also taken part in Manteca. We, as a newspaper team, have been involved in Relay for years and, in fact, many of us are not only on the team but heavily involved in committee work as well. If you haven't taken the time to visit Relay for Life, I urge you to do so this year. Oakdale's event will be April 25 and 26 at the high school, on the old baseball diamond. Relay for Life goes for 24 hours, we have fun, we remember people we have lost, we celebrate people winning the fight against cancer, we raise money to keep that fight going and we raise awareness of how to better protect yourself against the disease. Along the way, there's music, food, entertainment, fun, lots of walking, plenty of special events and a celebration of survivorship.

Not to mention, the Oakdale Rodeo is nearly upon us, the Chocolate Festival won't be far behind ... then it's July and Escalon's Park Fete, followed soon after by Riverbank's Cheese and Wine in October.

Every year seems to go by faster and faster ... sometimes I wonder how I have time to fit in writing a newspaper.

As a matter of fact, I'm running a little bit late right now. My daughter has soccer tryouts for next season in about half an hour and I still have to finish the scrapbooks for the coaches from this season so they can have them at our 2008-09 season wrap up party this afternoon.

Better get on it ...

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