Ah, springtime. Bats cracking, kids running, tennis balls bouncing, green grass growing … right?
Well as college football analyst Lee Corso would say, not so fast partner.
Spring, which is supposed to be among the most delightful of seasons, has yet to show its true colors in 2013, and the lack thereof has put a significant damper not just on the moods of the general public, but also on the sporting events of high school kids everywhere.
Monticello High School athletic director Gary Revenig knows full well the challenges that spring, with its impromptu rain showers and occasional late start, can bring to sports. But even for him, this year is unprecedented.
“This is the most challenging spring since I’ve been in the Monticello School District,” said Revenig, who has worked in the district for 20 years, first as a baseball coach and now as an AD.
The cold spring has kept outdoor fields frozen, some still with snow on them even. And for the sports who’s fields are in better shape, they’ve been handed recent weather in which outdoor practice would be miserable, if not unbearable.
Tuesday afternoon was dry, but with temperatures hovering around 40 degrees, and winds gusting about, Revenig and the high school had to cancel yet another day of competitive action.
“It’s really frustrating,” admitted Revenig.
But, they have found silver linings. For one, when Revenig met with the spring team captains for a photo-op this week, he was able to point out that most of them were still undefeated.
Revenig has seen a lot of that same positive attitude amongst his coaches and kids as they aim to turn this ugly spring weather into a positive.
“Coaches have been very flexible,” said Revenig. “As frustrating as the situation is, coaches and athletes know it’s out of their hands.”
The Magic teams have been doing their best to cope with it, and thanks to a spacious field house, they’ve likely had a better opportunity than most.
Baseball and softball have rotated early and late starts in the field house, taking the opportunity to use the batting cages, field ground balls off the hardwood, and continue to emphasize mechanics.
The track and field teams, each of whom have already won two indoor meets, have found a balance of indoor/outdoor work. While the distance runners have been able to bundle up and get outside, many others share gym space with the baseball and softball teams to work on their events.
Tennis has one of the toughest situations. While they’ve been able to get outside a couple of times, and while they did get a meet in last week against Alexandria (a 6-1 loss), they are without a facility when on the inside. With no indoor tennis courts, the team has been reduced to conditioning and strategy work on the cold, windy and/or wet days that have continued to mark this spring.
The golf teams have also found themselves in some interesting predicaments. They, unlike tennis, have a couple of options. There is a giant net they drop down in the middle school “pit”, allowing them to hit golf balls in there. But with middle school sports now starting up, they can’t access that gym till after 4:30. Luckily, the driving range opened up for them last week.
For one day. Oh, and it was self service.
“They had to walk around and pick up their own golf balls,” said Revenig.
But, at least they were outside. With a snowstorm pending for this week, and cold temperatures forecast through next week, no one really knows when all of the Magic teams will finally hit their natural playing fields.
Golf and track teams have both lost meets that won’t be rescheduled. Baseball is already trying to plan doubleheaders. And the longer this ugly weather lasts, the messier the complications become.
“Spring will come,” said Revenig. “It always does. But it’s definitely making things challenging.”