All right! Vacation time. I am heading up to my home town in Massachusetts and the beaches of Cape Cod for 10 days. Nothing to do but eat fresh fish, go to the beach, read and root for my Red Sox. And, oh yeah . . . think about sports. Even when I am on vacation staring out at the cool, blue Atlantic, I think about sports.

Here are some of the things I am thinking about this year:

* Ernie Els is a great golfer, but I wish he would get another corporate sponsor. I think he looks dopey wearing a hat and shirt that says "SAP" on it. After all, "sap" means a foolish person.

* Speaking of hats . . . I've seen some strange hats lately. Pink Boston Red Sox hats. Lime green New York Yankees hats. What's wrong with the regular hats?

* Thank goodness Shaq and Kobe will be playing on different teams next season. When they were on the Lakers, they sounded like a couple of bratty kids fighting over whose team it was.

* If Washington gets a professional baseball team, lots of people will want to call them the Senators. But other Washington pro baseball teams were known as the Nationals, the Statesmen, the Blue Legs and the Olympics. And there was a great Washington Negro League team called the Homestead Grays, as well as Negro League teams called the Elite Giants, Pilots and Potomacs. So there's lots of cool names to choose from.

* Stupidest new sport? Professional eating! I saw where someone ate 531/2 hot dogs in 12 minutes. Don't try that at home.

* Speaking of crazy . . . Did you hear that the Amateur Athletic Union is thinking about a national basketball championship for kids 7 and under? What's next? The Kindergarten World Series?

* I don't care how many times it shows up in the sports section or on ESPN, I don't think car racing is a sport. It's just a TV show.

* Those new swimsuits for the male Olympic swimmers look weird. The guys look like they are swimming in T-shirts and jeans.

* Don't you think that it's a little silly that people will be disappointed if American swimming phenom Michael Phelps wins only five or six Olympic gold medals and not seven or eight? Winning even one Olympic medal is fantastic.

* I can't understand Yankees fans. Twenty-six world championships, 39 World Series appearances and they still want more. These folks must root for billionaires such as Bill Gates to win the lottery.

* The riders in the Tour de France pedal more than 2,000 miles in just 21 riding days. Watching them, I started to wonder: Do their rear ends get sore from all that bike riding?

Fred Bowen writes KidsPost's Friday sports column and is the author of sports novels for kids.

Takeru Kobayashi found a way to eat 531/2 hot dogs; Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal have parted ways.