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Jon Gast column: We just play on in spring

4:45 PM, Mar. 26, 2013  |  Comments
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Normally, if given the choice, most high school athletes probably prefer to watch the sports segment on the local television news. This week I'm betting it's the weather.

As it stands today, the forecast for next week's season openers has to be something like cloudy with a 90 percent chance of no baseball or softball as fields are having trouble shedding snow. It's the time of the year when athletic directors earn their pay, pull their hair out and drop to their knees with arms outstretched and eyes heavenward pleading for help from above.

Spring will always be God's inside joke on this part of the world. "Thou shall never learn," he probably mutters as he gazes down on heavily clad young athletes bundled inside a dugout or under a track team tent. We'd all like to ask him why he just can't observe the official beginning of spring. To which he'd probably tell us that his creation of the Great Lakes was some of his finest work, but even He can't warm them up in a matter of a few short weeks.

Consequently, the term "cooler near the lake," is a modified term used by meteorologists on the advice of psychologists to ease the anxiety of lakeshore residents who really know that it's really "much, much colder near the lake."

But what we are seeing this year seems extreme, as snow is certain to languish into April and temperatures stubbornly refuse to rise. However, decades of sports coverage has taught me two things: Dress warm and this too shall pass.

One of the most memorable photographs I ever took while sports editor of the Advocate came on a May day. It was a quiet afternoon which resulted in one of the very few sports shots that I ever snapped without a person in it.

I was in Institute after an early May snowstorm that dump nearly a foot of snow on the area which included the baseball diamond where Sevastopol had been scheduled to play a game that day. The snow piled up against the backstop told the story. I took one shot and left.

But late-arriving springs or major storms never prevent a season from taking place. Actually, late-arriving springs happen nearly every year around here and like any good referee, umpire or official would require we simply "play on."

So the kids do. Baseball and softball players hope to avoid hitting the ball on the handle or off the end of the bat. Soccer players might want to avoid heading a ball that takes on the density of a rock. Here's a tip for track runners: Stay away from the 200-meter dash because your warmups are on the other side of the track when you finish.

It all had me chuckling Monday when I read that Costa Rica was asking for a replay of last week's World Cup qualifying soccer match with the United States after losing 1-0 to the Americans in a game played during a snowstorm in Colorado. Many, if not all, of the Costa Ricans had probably never played in snow but would they be disputing the result had they won?

I played high school golf in snow. Much smaller ball, all white and big score.

I should have asked for a replay.

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

Retrieving results.
Watching practice is fine.(Your vote)
15%
572 votes
I'd rather watch a scrimmage.(Your vote)
22%
850 votes
I don't want to pay to watch practice.(Your vote)
27%
1011 votes
It doesn't matter to me.(Your vote)
34%
1268 votes

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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

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