OldArchive / Sports

The End Zone Seat: Someday We'll Have Sunshine

April is the cruelest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull Roots with spring rain. —T.S. Eliot As I sit at my keyboard, a cold April rain is falling outside, the drops threatening at any moment to shiver themselves into snowflakes. Everyone you talk to is ready for this seemingly never-ending winter to end, no more so than the poor high school athletes who have struggled to get onto the fields this spring. Just when you think the baseball or softball fields might be close to ready to play on, another storm—rain or snow or some combination thereof—appears to dash hopes. Since the first legal playing date on March 25, Wyalusing Valley sports teams have gotten in three events—two track meets and a junior varsity softball game. To date, the varsity baseball and softball teams have each lost three games, while Tuesday’s track meet with Athens and the junior varsity baseball and softball games with Towanda have been postponed. The track team also lost a meet at Windsor, NY, last weekend. We’ve always had cold springs, making the early season ball games true tests for players and fans alike. When asked, I’ve always said that if I had to rate the 10 coldest events I’ve covered in nearly 25 years as a sports reporter, the vast majority of them would be baseball and softball games. I can only recall a couple of football games that came close to matching a softball game with Canton several years ago for cold weather. Despite being bundled up like an Eskimo, a brutal cold wind whipping down the Susquehanna River made the day almost unbearable. I could barely hold my pencil. How the girls could throw the ball or work up the courage to swing a bat is beyond me. At last week’s track meet with Northeast Bradford, I kidded Wyalusing softball pitcher Brianna Jennings that she was going to be a freshman in college before we got the high school season started. That same day, football coach Jim Huffman noted to me that baseball coach Dave Hitchcock had observed that the two programs should switch seasons. I certainly can’t disagree. There is little doubt that most years in the Northern Tier, the weather in the fall would be far more conducive to baseball or softball than the spring. Football, on the other hand, could easily get their games in and, I might add, preseason workouts wouldn’t be held in 80- or 90- degree temperatures with humidity almost as high. Plus, the PIAA wouldn’t play their championship games in the dead of winter. Of course, there’s not going to be any switch of season and temperatures haven’t been the issue this year. It’s been the persistent snow and rain that have kept the ball teams idled because of unplayable field conditions. About all we can hope is that April showers will eventually lead to sunny days that warm our faces and souls and the most heartening words in sports, “Play ball!”

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