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Sports Desk: Springtime isn’t all fun and games

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04/16/2017 5:40 AM |

Here’s an idea of what a recent series of days was like for me:

Wednesday: Covered a boys lacrosse game. Froze.

Thursday: Covered a baseball doubleheader. Froze.

Friday: Covered a boys lacrosse game. Froze.

Saturday: Covered a girls lacrosse game. Froze.

Notice a trend?

It is my contention that the word “spring” — as in the season — is the one of the most misleading words in the English language. To some, the spring conjures images of sunshine, flowers and warmth.

Not me.

The spring can be brutal for those who brave the elements to attend outdoor sporting events. It can be cold, rainy, windy. A recent boys lacrosse game at Shoreham-Wading River High School featured all of the above (I think it was about 90 minutes after I had returned home from that one when the cold finally left my bones). The early spring is really just winter Part II.

I wish the winter sports season extended another month, pushing back the start of spring sports, but that’s not going to happen.

After all these years, I am well-versed at covering games in the cold. Basically, what you do is dress like the Michelin Man, with layers upon layers. If you’re outside long enough, the cold is eventually going to seep in and get to you, but the more layers you have, the more longer you can hold that off.

Springtime can be tricky, too. The weather can fool you. It can be downright warm around noon, but bone-chilling by the late afternoon. That’s why it’s important to dress for a 4 p.m. game for what the weather will be like, say, at 5:30 p.m. It’s always smart to bring additional clothing such as a sweatshirt and wool cap. I have advised young sports reporters that you can really never overdress for the spring. Remember, you can always remove a sweater, but you can’t put one on unless you have it with you. That is why the back seat in my car is a mess, with all sorts of clothing.

I was at a boys track and field meet last Wednesday at Riverhead High School and kicking myself around 3:30 p.m. for wearing my winter coat and not having worn a light jacket. It was on the warm side. Sure enough, two hours later I was so glad to have that winter coat zipped up. When that sun starts to go down, it gets cold quickly.

It isn’t just the issue of physical comfort that bothers me about the spring, though. Trying to plan out assignments and figuring out what games and meets to cover can be a logistical nightmare, with rainouts and potential rainouts to consider. Boys tennis is the most weather-sensitive spring sport. It doesn’t take much rain to postpone a tennis match. Lacrosse and track, on the other hand, are better bad-weather sports.

For purely selfish reasons, I was saddened to see girls volleyball in this area moved from the spring season to the fall. Volleyball was always good to cover on a rainy day. As Mattituck’s girls volleyball coach Frank Massa is fond of saying, it’s always 75 degrees and sunny for volleyball.

One can’t help but feel for the athletes themselves who have to compete in these trying conditions. If you’re a baseball or softball player who wants to play in nice, warm weather, you basically have to make it to the playoffs.

Monday and Tuesday were really nice days, giving one hope. But I’ve experienced this before. Don’t be fooled. This could be just another tease by Mother Nature.

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Photo caption: Riverhead softball players experiencing the chill of March. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk, file)

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