These are the dog days of summer, the part of the season most challenging for drivers. Avonte Maddox Jersey . With the freshness of the new season gone, the Coke 600 and Brickyard 400 in our rearview mirror, we grind away at the schedule for another six weekends until NASCAR takes on a new meaning in Chicago.I am in no way suggesting the next month-and-a-half have no purpose.In fact, for a dozen drivers their seasons depend on something spectacular happening in this final handful of races. But even for them, its a grind.For those who have punched the ticket to the big dance -- the Chase -- most would just as soon the music begin now. These are the hottest months of the year and the hottest track temps. Track conditions confirm it. Nothing comes easy in these final regular-season events, but each of them are valuable.Pocono, Watkins Glen, Michigan, Bristol, Darlington and Richmond. None of these tracks have a presence in the Chase. None of them share any similarity to the 10 tracks in the Chase.So lets just take the next six weeks off.Just kidding!But I promise you, there are a few wearing full-faced helmets who would embrace that, because thats the effect this time of the season has on some drivers.How about those who have plenty to fight for? Well start with Chase Elliott. This young man was nearly perfect in the previous Pocono event a few weeks back, and he has had a season deserving of a playoff spot. Another weekend at the tricky triangle like he had a short time ago would go a long way in solidifying one of those 16 spots.Kyle Larson is equally deserving. My concern for Kyle is that he might try too hard. I do believe he feels some need to redeem himself after Dover, where he finished second with what appeared to be a superior car.I dont think he has a darn thing to correct or redeem. But I also must tell you drivers are extremely hard on themselves -- I suppose like most competitors are -- and while the feeling in the moments after the race is that you will have plenty of shots for that first win, the reality is the longer you go without it, the more the pressure builds.Larson is a lock for the Chase if he manages the next six events as well as he did last weekend at the Brickyard.Austin Dillon and Ryan Newman have done a remarkable job managing the first 20 races of the season. Richard Childress Racing also appears to be gaining some momentum, which suggests Childress could have two of his three drivers in the playoffs. This team has a lot to race for.Jamie McMurray has been stealth-like and has the experience, wisdom and knowledge to calculate his way into the playoffs. Of all the drivers Ive mentioned, he is most qualified to control his own destiny.All three Roush Fenway Racing drivers sit between 18th and 22nd, so Im saying theres a chance. But for the chance to become reality, the organization needs to find another gear. Progress has been made, thats for certain. But having no cars make the championship battle would make any measure of progress a hollow feeling.Kasey Kahne?is, well, in the same place he seems to be year after year, on the edge of in or out.While this has not been a typical Hendrick Motorsports-type season, Kahne has been doing this long enough and well enough at times for the expectations to be Chase or bust. He is capable of elevating his game to the same place weve seen Martin Truex Jr. We need to see it in the next six weeks.Last but not least is the driver who won the first race of the year, the biggest race of the year, but desperately needs a swing in momentum.Denny Hamlin has had a solid year until you compare his numbers to his teammates. This is without question the best Joe Gibbs Racing has ever been.Hamlin, who I believe is a championship-caliber driver, needs to capitalize on the moment. The moment is now. The place is Pocono.Hamlin wins, and that, folks, is this weeks bottom line! Eagles Jerseys Store . Most important, perhaps, it went off without a hitch. Organizers poked a little fun at the now-infamous opening ceremony gaffe that saw only four out of five snowflakes open up into rings, leaving the Olympics logo one ring short. Matt Pryor Jersey . The defending champion beat Gael Monfils of France 7-6 (6), 6-3, while second-seeded Andy Murray of Britain dispatched Edouard Roger-Vasselin, also of France, 6-3, 6-3. Making his first appearance since injuring his wrist a month ago, Del Potro had difficulty with his service games in the first set. http://www.cheapphiladelphiaeaglesjersey...t-pryor-jersey/ . But Bourque, who has missed three games with a lower-body injury, wont be in the lineup when the Habs travel to Buffalo to take on the Sabres on Wednesday. INDIANAPOLIS -- It just makes sense that this is where the legend of Tamika Catchings will be rooted in forever: the capital city in the state that so adores basketball and where those who play it do so as if their lives depended on it.Thats how it has always looked for Catchings. Her play reflected every cliché ever uttered about competing. She brought vivid life to those words about making the most of every moment on the court.Catchings has been relentless. Her competitiveness wore out foes who thought no one could outlast them.But after 15 years in the WNBA, Catchings will retire when this season ends for her Indiana Fever, who close with home games Friday and Sunday before appearing in the playoffs.Admittedly, it wont be easy for Catchings to step away from competition and the thing that has defined her to this point. But she has prepared for it, just as she has done for every game she has played.So appreciate the short time we have left watching this force of nature on the court. Cry a little after her last game (hey, all of us will). Realize that you probably wont see anyone quite like her again.But then smile, because you know Catch will stay busy, and she will be all right. The rest of her lifes work is in front of her. There will be some challenging days as she finds her footing. But she will find it.I know what Im passionate about: making a difference in peoples lives, Catchings said, which is reflected in Catch the Stars, her charitable foundation that helps young people achieve their goals through literacy, fitness and mentoring.This WNBA season, Catchings has been on a legacy tour, where her foundation has donated money in every WNBA city to an organization that has a similar purpose.She has a servants heart, which is why people love to be around her, said Indiana coach Stephanie White, who previously played alongside Catchings with the Fever. They respect that and admire her.There is so much to do, so many children to inspire. Theres also the fact that Catchings, who turned 37 in July and married Parnell Smith earlier this year, would like to have children of her own.White said that no one should underestimate how much of Catchings athletic personality she will take into the next phase of her life.Everything she does is a competition, White said, chuckling. She wants to see how much money she can raise for her foundation, how much she can accomplish in helping people. Shes always going to find ways to push herself.But it will be different, of course. Tamika is the daughter of an NBA player, Harvey Catchings. Her intensity as an athlete was so striking that even someone cut from the very same cloth, former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt, was struck by it.Literally all my life, Ive known I wanted to play basketball. I woke up every single day to do that, Catchings said. Thank God that I had the opportunity to do it professionally.Now, its that scary unknown. But being very faith-oriented, Ive talked a lot to my pastors wife; shes a big mentor for me. She says, Youve got to let go. But its hard to let go.It will be hard for us to let go, too, Catch.An amazing careerCatchings, a 6-foot-1 forward, first became well-known to most womens basketball fans as a freshman at Tennessee in 1997. She was part of what was called the Three Meeks, along with Chamique Holdsclaw and Semeka Randall. Those Lady Vols, among the most talented teams ever in womens college basketball, went 39-0 to win the 1998 NCAA title.Catchings got one more trip to the Final Four, in 2000 when Tennessee lost the final to UConn. Her 2001 senior season was cut short because of a torn ACL, which is partly why she fell to the No. 3 pick in the WNBA draft that year. Indiana was smart enough to know Catchings was worth waiting a season for; she was rookie of the year in 2002 and will end her career as one of the most accomplished players in WNBA history.She is already the WNBAs leader in career steals (1,071). With 3,305 rebounds, Catchings needs just three more to pass Los Angeles great Lisa Leslie as the leagues all-time leader in that category. She is No. 2 in scoring at 7,353, trailing Tina Thompsons 7,488.Catchings has won the WNBAs Defensive Player of the Year award five times, most recently in 2012, when the Fever won their WNBA title.Indiana has appeared in the WNBA Finals two other times, and both went to five games: in 2009 and 2015. No player has been more singularly identified as the face of a WNBA franchise than Catchings is with the Fever.I think its pretty incredible to look at the level shes playing at, and that shes been this productive for 15 consecutive years, White said. I think its a tribute to her mentality, that she somehow always finds another gear.White also has enjoyed watching Catchings go from a shy kid outside of basketball to a confident and dynamic civic leader. To observe that Catchings is so eloquent is especially gratifying when you know what she has overcome.In her book, Catch a Star: Shining Through Adversity to Become a Champion, Catchings writes in detail about coping with her hearing problems as a child, how she was bullied for wearing a hearing aid and eventually threw it away in shame, and how Summitt encouraged her to become a role model for the hearing-impaired.Countless athletes cite Summitts influence as one of the mostt important in their lives, but there was a particularly special bond between Catchings and Summitt. Jordan Mailata Jersey. In July in Knoxville, Tennessee, Catchings spoke at the memorial service for Summitt, who died in June from the effects of early-onset dementia, Alzheimers type.When I play, theres the reminder of her spirit; its always within me, Catchings said. I dedicated this season to her, with the Olympics and the Fever. Knowing shes watching me, it gives me comfort.Former NFL star Peyton Manning, also a Tennessee grad, spoke at Summitts service, too. He retired this year, and we now see the TV commercials of him lounging around in his robe looking to fill his Sundays watching games, instead of playing in them.Catchings said she and Manning talked about the challenges of retirement, and how everyone has a suggestion to him about what to do next.He said that right now, I want to relax, I want to chill, Catchings said. He asked me, What do you want to do? and I said kind of the same thing: relax for a couple of months, and then in January 2017, start nailing it down. Because every day an opportunity comes up.Wisdom gainedCatchings has long said she is not interested in coaching, although she could see herself working in the front office of a WNBA or NBA team. She has been very involved in the WNBA players union and knows more than many players about the business of basketball.White thinks Catchings can do whatever she puts her mind to, and says that despite Catchings protests, she would be an excellent coach. Catchings won her fourth Olympic gold medal in Rio de Janeiro this summer, but her role was limited. She played the fewest minutes of anyone on the U.S. team -- 82 for an average of 10.3 per game -- as coach Geno Auriemma seemed focused on giving younger post players more time.Catchings has started her entire WNBA career; being the last person off the bench was completely foreign to her. But it turned into yet another way for Catchings to show how much she has learned and what a leader she is.That was tough. Im not going to lie and say it was great, Catchings said of her playing time in Rio. But at the same time, on every team, there are more players that dont play than do play.I reminded myself, Just stay ready. Because I knew thats something I would always tell my teammates with the Fever: Be ready! When you go in, you have that minute to make an impact. Make the best of it. But its easy to say that and not do it.Catchings was enthusiastic about cheering on her Olympic teammates and then making an impact every second she was on the court. She lived up to the advice she had given to so many others.Thats the way a team operates, Catchings said.Heart of a championMarissa Coleman, who has played the past three seasons in Indiana, said that even before she joined the Fever, Catchings was friendly with encouragement. Minnesotas Seimone Augustus has credited Catchings with helping her reach the level of being a championship player. You hear stories like this all the time from WNBA players about Catchings. Her influence extends far beyond Indiana to the rest of the league.But it is something very special to have played on a team with Catchings, and those who have done that, will always carry it with them.It starts with the respect you have for her, Coleman said. You see her putting in the work, and it motivates you. You feed off her energy. You know she has your back and has confidence in you, and it elevates your game.Like any athlete who has competed this long, Catchings has played through all kinds of aches and pains and has made it back from serious knee and Achilles injuries, which took tedious rehabilitation.So when you ask what has been the toughest part of her career, you assume shell say it was those physical obstacles she has faced. Or maybe the two WNBA Finals that the Fever lost.Then Catchings surprises you. Although when you stop and think about it and who she is as a human being, its not really a surprise.Training camp has been the hardest thing for me, she said. Because -- and I learned this early -- you have all these players who come in with their hopes and dreams and aspirations of, I want to be in the WNBA.This is their opportunity, and they want to get to know me. And I like getting to know them. But its so hard when some of them get cut. You develop those friendships, and when they dont make it, you can feel it -- the hurt that they have. Ive been so blessed to have all these years to play.So just as Catchings has played for her family, for her teammates and coaches, for the kids who look up to her, for the fans, for people who deal with hearing loss, for Tennessee and Summitt, for the Indiana Fever, for the WNBA, for Team USA, she also has played for those who wanted so much to do what she has done. She keeps them forever in her heart, too, as with everything else she cares about.And when she stops playing, shell know she maxed out with her physical and mental gifts, because she supplemented every one of them with enormous effort. Shell find joy in that.Thats what you want to do: Know youve given everything you have, to where youre like, Whew, Im tired, she said. I love that feeling. Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys NFL Jerseys From China NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Jerseys Cheap China Jerseys Wholesale Cheap NFL Jerseys China ' ' '