This year in Minnesota and across the country, signature sports of the spring have had to take a back seat to the weather. The NCAA March Madness was highlighted by snow-capped arenas. Flights to the NCAA Hockey Frozen Four were changed due to massive April storms. The Minnesota Twins have already lost 4 games to weather, three at their own dome-less stadium. But perhaps no other arena has been hit harder by the lingering winter than the high school sports across Minnesota.
Without the fancy facilities and high dollar equipment to maintain them, high school sports like baseball, softball, track and field, lacrosse and golf all are at the mercy of "Ma Nature." (To quote a certain KNSI personality and MSC broadcaster.) And this year, the record snowfall in March and April has sent high school conference administrators scrambling.
At the time of the writing, for example, just one area baseball team has been able to play a game.The Apollo Eagles got a lucky slot in the Metrodome early in the season to take on Farmington. In contrast, last season the Eagles already had six games under their belt by the 24th of April. Aside from game time, indoor practice has been extended. After week upon week of indoor practice time, St. Cloud Cathedral softball remains cooped up. The rest of the sports, at the rest of the schools, are all in that same boat.
What does this mean? Will there be a spring season? Are these kids just missing out, some on what could be their last competitive days? The short answer, and good news, is no. There will be a season. The tougher question to answer is: "How will there be a season?"
First off, the weather is finally going to cooperate. Outside of some typical spring rain, the fields, courses and courts should all be ready for play from here on out. The trick just becomes scheduling. Area activities directors I've talked to have already said things will be different. Saturday games and matches. More double-headers. Schedules arranged by ease of travel and distance. It won't look as structured as we are used to, but it will happen, the games will go on.
So as you pack up your snow-shovel and ice scraper while bracing for the first brush with 70 degree weather, rest assured, the fairways, lanes, outfields, infields, and sidelines will soon again ring out with the unrestrained joy of amateur competition. Marking the fact that another winter, though prolonged, has been defeated by the advent of spring.