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Sports Desk: Welcome to Winter, Part II

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04/02/2018 2:12 PM |

As I sit here at home, peacefully tapping onto my keyboard Monday morning, I glance up occasionally to look out beyond a snow-covered balcony and see what looks to be a winter wonderland of snow-covered trees. Beautiful, no?

No!

The problem, you see, is it’s the second day of April. It’s the day after Easter and April Fool’s Day, and unfortunately this weather — our fifth snowstorm in a matter of weeks — is no joke. I have to admit, I have come to despise snow, especially snow in the spring. (For the record, spring officially arrived at 12:15 p.m. on March 20.)

Upon hearing word last week that snow was expected for Monday, I took the news with a sense of resignation. I have been through this drill too many times before.

Snow in the winter is one thing, but snow in the spring season is something else. It means games are postponed, schedules are a mess, editors, reporters and photographers must make adjustments on the fly, and two sports sections need to be filled under trying circumstances.

So, that is why on Easter, while enjoying the holiday with family and friends, a part of me was thinking ahead to the following day and what was going to happen — or, rather, what was not going to happen.

What didn’t happen was a scheduled Mattituck softball game at Babylon on Monday morning. Or a Port Jefferson-Greenport baseball game to be played at the same time.

And then there was talk of some rain on Tuesday, jeopardizing that day’s events, particularly weather-sensitive sports like boys tennis, baseball and softball.

Welcome to early spring in the northeast, or as I prefer to call it, Winter, Part II.

Sports is fun and games, but trying to cover them sometimes isn’t so much fun.

“Spring” may be one of the most misleading words in the English language. When people think of spring, it often conjures images of flowers, Easter, sunshine, warm weather.

That is a lie.

What spring means to those following high school sports in the months of March, April and even May sometimes, is miserable weather, for the most part. It means enduring cold, biting wind at baseball games that weren’t meant to be played in those conditions. It means contending with rain and the havoc it wreaks on schedules. (I often wonder how teams in upstate New York do it, dealing with much harsher weather than we do on relatively mild Long Island.) For games that are played, it too often means bundling up in layers like the Michelin Man to watch them in freezing conditions.

It can’t be too fun — or too safe — for players, either.

In March, teams are often forced to practice indoors, trying to prepare for their seasons. That’s rough.

February used to be my least favorite month of the year, but I think it has been replaced by March after last month brought us not one, not two, not three, but four nor’easters. Ouch!

It’s not news that I’m not a big fan of the spring season. The sports that are played in the spring are great (there aren’t many things better than sitting down to enjoy a nice baseball or softball game in warm sunshine), it’s just that infernal weather.

The weather is what it is. I wish there was a way to extend the winter sports season and push back the start of the spring sports season a few weeks. As it is, teams don’t really get to enjoy playing in nice weather too much unless they reach the playoffs.

Newsday’s Gregg Sarra offered a brilliant proposal that I wholeheartedly support. Why don’t we push the start of spring sports back two weeks? As Sarra sees it, there is no reason for the baseball regular season to end on May 10, just when the weather is really warming up. He recommends Long Island teams pull out of the state tournament, play their regular season through May and schedule best-of-three Long Island finals in June.

“Instead, we trudge through brutally cold winds, rain, snow and bear the brunt of Mother Nature’s wrath,” Sarra wrote in a column Sunday. “For what?”

That’s an excellent question, Gregg.

Photo caption: Riverhead’s Lauren Kenny, left, and Mattituck/Southold’s Brianna Fox and their lacrosse teams played each other on March 20, the first day of spring, when piles of snow bordered the field at the Pulaski Sports Complex in Riverhead. (Credit: Bob Liepa)

Bob_CBob Liepa is the sports editor of the Riverhead News-Review and The Suffolk Times. He can be reached at [email protected].

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