TAAF Summer Games
The City of McAllen is projecting that 10,000 athletes from across the state will be competing in the Texas Amateur Athletic Foundation Summer Games later this month.
This July the best Texas amateur athletes will be competing in the annual Texas Amateur Athletic Foundation (TAAF) Summer Games. Eighteen different sports will be represented in the four-day event, beginning on Thursday, July 28 and wrapping up on Sunday, July 31. The City of McAllen is projecting that 10,000 athletes from across the state will be competing.
The sports range from skateboarding and Brazilian jiu-jitsu to more traditional sports like wrestling and tennis. One popular sport is pickleball, which Rick Krauss, one of the event coordinators, described as “an indoor version of tennis” played with a plastic ball similar to a whiffle ball. Among the participants in the pickleball games is a 79-year-old woman who is a national level player and a hometown resident.
On Friday, July 29, the opening ceremony will be held at Oval Park. “The whole event is styled after the mini-Olympics,” Rick said. The ceremony includes an athlete parade, the lighting of the torch and a fireworks display at dusk. There will be plenty of food truck vendors and activities for the kids. A live band and DJ will add music to the festivities.
The City of McAllen won the bid to host the Summer Games for two years, 2016 and 2017. This is the furthest south that the games have been held. Rick said that they “sold it on the fact that it’s a hometown event”, and they expect around ten thousand spectators over the course of the games.
The Summer Games includes age divisions for both adults and children, with exceptions for some sports. Spectators are highly encouraged to attend. Details on all the events can be found at the TAAF website http://www.taaf.com/summergames2016.
By Karen Chaddick