The Sporting Month of August in Florida

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With average highs of 33*C and the waters coming in at roughly 29*C, the Florida temperatures are perfect for relaxing on the beach. But if you would rather spend your free time cheering in the stands than sprawled in the sand, the state is pretty much the sporting Valhalla for fans of physical prowess this autumn.

Although it didn’t have a permanent Major League presence until the Miami Dolphins were added to the roster in 1996, Florida now boasts two NHL teams, three NFL teams, and two NBA teams to entertain visitors, as well as a number of Minor League baseball teams. Throughout August the Tampa Bay Rays will play the Seattle Mariners, the San Francisco Giants, the Toronto Blue Jays, the New York Yankees and the LA Angels whereas the Miami Marlins, as well as playing the Giants, will also play the New York Mets, the Cleveland Indians, the LA Dodgers and the Colorado Rockies.

If you want to spot future Hall of Famers take time to check out the Babe Ruth World Series which is being held in the Hal Brady Recreation Complex in Alachua until the 7th. Named for the baseball legend, the youth league’s 16-18 division regularly attracts the attentions of Major League scouts, and previous Babe Ruth players who have made the Hall include Jim Palmer, George Brett and Cal Ripken Junior. By 2012 the League had seen over 1,000,000 players, competing in over 9,000 leagues in six different countries, for nearly 56,000 teams as well as in all 50 states. You never know; with a little luck you could bear witness to the career start of the best second baseman since Joe Morgan…

Frank Brown Park, arguably the jewel in the crown of Panama City Beach’s attractions, holds regular and spectacular musical and sporting extravaganzas which, this August, will include the 48th Air National Guard National Softball Tournament. Held over three days from the 7th through the 10th, hosted by the 101st Air and Space Operations Group with participating Air National Guard members from all 50 states, there will be over 500 players in over 150 games and, with old rivalries guaranteed to be revisited, the competitive atmosphere is sure to be ramped high. Frank Brown Park is also the site of this year’s USSSA Military World Softball Tournament, where all military branches – Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Navy and Marines – will play from the 16th through the weekend of the 18th. Thursday the 15th, however, features an unmissable exhibition game by the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball team.

Florida in August isn’t just ball games, however. The Florida Sports Foundation-funded International Judo Federation Cadet Championships are being held in Miami from the 8th through the 11th at the Doral Resort and Spa, and the IFBB Bodybuilding Weekly Championships are to be held at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay on the 9th and 10th.

If watching the water is a little more your style, time your Florida trip to coincide with the Water Ski National Championships. Located at West Palm Beach’s Okeeheelee Park, the 71st annual GOODE competition is being staged on the 13th through to the 18th of August. With a huge number of sponsors and more than 600 participants, this year’s event is to be hosted by the Ski Club of The Palm Beaches in conjunction with the American Water Ski Association. Alternatively, the US Rowing Masters National Championships’ seven lane, 1,000 metre, fully-buoyed course will be in Sarasota at the Nathan Benederson Park; another Florida Sports Foundation-funded event, the Championship will run from the 15th until the 18th of the month.

Finally, the USA Gymnastics 2013 Stars and Stripes Cup is to be held in Daytona Beach, serving as the final selection event for this year’s World Championships. The three day event – starting on the 29th – will showcase more than 300 of America’s best in trampoline, synchronised trampoline, double mini-trampoline and tumbling.

Nevertheless, whether you choose stands or sands, consider the convenience of car hire in Florida to make sure you don’t miss any of the fantastic events on offer this August.

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