There were 63 high school sporting events scheduled for Monday afternoon, including several golf matches. But all of those events were either postponed or canceled, because, on the sixth day of spring, it snowed.
It doesn’t usually snow on March 25, but being a helpless victim of the weather is all part of being a spring athlete in the Northeast. April showers may bring May flowers, but they also give headaches to coaches and athletic directors of spring sports, who spend more time checking out the Weather Channel than scouting reports of upcoming opponents.
It’s not just coaches and administrators, of course. Anyone who has played a spring sport knows what it’s like to sneak a peek at the weather forecast and see there’s a possibility of inclement weather and then sit around helplessly while Mother Nature decides whether they play or not.
And it’s not just the games that are affected. There’s nothing more depressing than being forced to hold baseball practice inside the school gym or wear an overcoat to softball practice or try and get loose before track practice or run around on a field that’s either soft as a sponge or hard as a rock.
Still, those are physical things that can be dealt with and overcome. But when the games are postponed or cancelled it takes a toll on everybody’s psyche. Kids work hard in practice all week and get pumped up to play a game or match and then it’s taken away from them, often at the last second. And for somebody who is just trying to make a team and doesn’t get a real opportunity to show his or her stuff, winter weather in the spring can be incredibly frustrating.
Bob Colburn, the legendary baseball coach at St. Andrew’s School – Colburn is in his 52nd season with the Saints — once talked about how irritating it was to be on the phone with a coaching crony in Florida and listen to his friend complain about the heat and how difficult it is to keep his players hydrated and covered with sun screen. That’s the last thing somebody like Colburn – who is more in need of anti-freeze than Gator Aid – needs to hear.
It’s also not a coincidence that the vast majority of professional baseball players and golfers come from southern states (or sometimes even the Southern Hemisphere). In states like Florida and Texas and California (at least the southern part of it), spring practice starts in February or even sooner.
Plus there’s another group of people that is adversely affected by inclement spring weather – the parents. Spring sports usually draw small crowds to their games or matches and it’s usually just family. Any parent or grandparent who has had to sit through a seven-inning baseball game with an arctic wind blasting them in the face for two hours knows what that is like.
Winter sports occasionally get postponed because of winter weather, but that’s because of dangerous driving conditions — nobody ever got frostbite watching a high school basketball game. But a baseball game in March? Where’s a St. Bernard when you need one?
Contact Kevin Noonan at email@example.com.