Smoky skies seem to be more common than not this time of year.
Used to be they came from the grass burning, now it's more from regional wildfires.
Either way, one look at the haze can only mean one thing - the start of the high school sports season is near.
And the first event locally is scheduled for under the lights on Friday night - though it's not football.
Lakeland and Timberlake are slated to play in girls soccer at 7 p.m. at Van Tuinstra Memorial Field in Spirit Lake.
There's a handful of soccer games on Saturday.
Four local football teams open their seasons the following Friday (Aug. 24), though none of the games are in Kootenai County - Coeur d'Alene at Skyview of Nampa, Lake City at Eagle, St. Maries at Kellogg and Kootenai at Wallace.
The other thing that lets you know fall sports are near is when you get stopped at the gym, or the store, or wherever - and asked how the Vikings are going to be in football, or Lake City, or Post Falls ...
SOME NOTES from the most recent Idaho High School Activities Association board of directors meeting:
* The IHSAA decided on a schedule for this year's state volleyball tournaments, which go back to double-elimination after two years as single-elimination with a consolation bracket.
To speed up play, Friday's matches will be played on two nets, starting at 8 a.m., with the final matches at 6 p.m. They'll go to one net on Saturday, starting at 9 a.m., with the championship match at 3 p.m., and an if-necessary match to follow.
This move was a no-brainer. Teams play side by side in tournaments all the time (the old A-1 and A-2 volleyball tourneys were in the same gym for years), and the tourney will get over plenty early on Saturday.
* Revising the rule regarding use of an electronic device in golf died for a lack of a motion.
Coeur d’Alene appealed Eagle’s victory over the Vikings at the state 5A boys golf tournament this past spring because an Eagle player was allowed to continue playing after originally being disqualified for using a range finder (used to determine yardage) once during the round. USGA rules mean a DQ for using a range finder, but it was later discovered IHSAA rules only allow for a two-stroke penalty.
Coeur d’Alene officials pushed to change the IHSAA rule to match the USGA rule, but there was no other support statewide.
Mark Nelke is sports editor of The Press. He can be reached at 664-8176, Ext. 2019, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at CdAPressSports.