The office chatter two weeks ago went something like this.
“Wow, it feels great outside. I didn’t even need my coat.”
“I know,” said another, “the wind even feels warm.”
Another added, “It’s so nice to be done with winter.”
I hated to break their spring party, but I just had to. “Silly Michigeese,” I said. “Did you see the forecast with the threat of snow?” I asked.
They looked at me in silence as I added, “Every March and April we get at least one ice or final snow storm. Many an Easter egg hunt I have put on had kids donning garbage bags, snow pants and rain boots. It’s Michigan after all. Wait five minutes and the weather will change. Wait five more, and cest le vies, back inside we all go.
In no other season do we have to second guess what will and won’t take place each week on the local high school sports scene. The fall season has its own set of challenges, but it’s more of a reverse from the spring, waiting for the weather to turn cold.
My email inbox this past week was like watching an airline departure monitor with cancellations springing up for each school. The early cancellations and postponements began last Tuesday, and really ramped up this past Monday. Now, teams will be scrambling to see which games can be rescheduled, which have to be scratched and just how many games each week they will now have to play to get in all the league competitions, along with the Saturday tournaments before Memorial Day weekend, and then district play.
It’s not a good thing for any of our area high school teams, as, for the most part, the majority hasn’t been outside yet. No amount of throwing in a gym or hallway can mimic the conditions of the playing field, or the opposition looking to rout a team. Add in next week’s spring break and you have teams that have seen no one but their teammates staring back at them in mock scrimmages. No competitions have taken place, nor outside hitting on a tennis court or running on a track. That sets everyone up for the same scenario— opening day after spring break.
The never-ending winter weather also has starting lineups unfinished and far from penciled in as the usual challenges for the starting rotations on the ball and soccer fields are delayed and for the girls’ tennis teams, no challenges can happen for the top singles and doubles positions. Golf courses also are off limits, with teams instead using heated driving ranges to keep their swing mechanics going. Their season wasn’t set to begin until after the break, but they face the same practice dilemmas.
Many teams also now will find themselves facing opponents that were four games down on the schedule, but now first up in their season-openers. That will make many a coach swallow hard. Practices continue hard and fast for the duration of this week, then it’s the checklist of who is still in town and who isn’t during the spring break week. That just adds to the chaos, because once everyone is back together after the break, it’s back to square one to make sure everyone knows what his or her role is.
I feel for the coaches. We’re in a slightly similar boat. Many have asked us, “what are you going to put in the paper if no one is playing right now?” Well, that’s the million-dollar question of the week for us. Fortunately for us, this time of year is all about the spring previews. It’s just been a little different because so many of the questions we typically ask remain unanswered. There are plenty of new coaches, new players and league changes to discuss. We’ll just have to play the same waiting game as the teams and see what unfolds once the weather breaks. Enjoy spring break.
With our continuing improvements to our web site, www.mihomepaper.com, this season, we’ll be asking for scores as soon after every game as possible so we can post to the web sites each night. Game recaps will appear each week in the papers. Scores can be reported 24/7 via e-mail, fax, or phone to:
Lisa Paine, Sports Editor, 810-452- 2626, firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Selecky, 810-452-2632, email@example.com
Dan Nilsen, 810-452-2655, firstname.lastname@example.org
Erik Hohenthaner, 810-452-2641, email@example.com
Brandon Pope, 810-452-2651, firstname.lastname@example.org