John Fogerty couldn't have more eloquently painted a picture with his 1985 hit "Centerfield" of how I felt when informed of the cancellation of Friday's 4:30 p.m. softball game between Minot High School and Bismarck Century.
The chorus "Put me in coach, I am ready to play ...today," resonates with each cancellation of a spring sporting event in North Dakota.
Yes, the rain-drenched North Dakota elements have put a damper on things (pun intended). The precipitation has turned the local sports section into a weather forecast, with sportswriters having no choice but to write something weather-related in the first three paragraphs of a game story.
Congratulations to the Minot High School soccer team which had hosted its first home game. Because of the unseasonable weather, it only took a solid month to get around to it. Or, how about the high school golf teams that had to endure months of hitting balls into a net, or have been confined to practice in the gym in early spring?
Earlier in the season, the Our Redeemer's boys golf coach Charles Strand even had to resort to creative ways to break the monotony of indoor practice. The team utilized stations by setting up cones, and even chipping golf balls into Hula-Hoops to stay excited.
"After a while, the kids don't see the point in hitting golf balls into a net," Strand said. "We have to keep things active by watching video tapes and coming up with new games. We are doing whatever we can to improve, under the circumstances."
So, slightly perturbed with this weather would be an understatement. On Friday, there was no "ping" of the aluminum bat reverberating in my ear. Even getting nailed with a foul ball in the shin would be a welcome event. File that under the "be careful what you wish for category."
It's already happened once during the Bishop Ryan vs. Minot High softball game.
With all this weather hoopla, it was time to get to the bottom of who is the No. 1 seed of all sports this spring. The local meteorologist at the National Weather Service in North Dakota at Bismarck had our answer.
Perhaps it was just a flashback to the time covering an F-3 tornado for the Pekin Daily Times that occured in Pekin, Ill., in 2003, where calling the National Weather Service was not just a knee-jerk reaction but a prerequisite to starting the work day.
So, the No. 1 seed in all sports in North Dakota, is-*drum roll*- La Nina.
Jimmy Taeger, Meteorologist Intern for the National Weather Service in Bismarck, couldn't have more eloquently explained this phenomenon to me.
"As far as the temperature goes, we really haven't broken any records," said Taegar, who collects climatic data as part of his training for his next position as a General Forecaster. "La Nina is a big part of the world's weather, and is effected by the ocean temperature in the central Pacific Ocean. Because of La Nina, our area (in North Dakota) has become colder than expected. The temperature of the sea surface down in the Central Pacific has a greater low-pressure system, and there is a high set up. Typically, you have rain associated with low-pressure, sunny skies with high pressure, and because of the change in the Central Pacific, we encountered a pattern of a large and high-scale pressure systems, that has brought a little more precipation in spring (meterologically, spring begins March 1).
Here is a statistic that will boggle the mind. Since Jan. 1, Minot has actually had less precipitation than its average for this time of year. Minot has only had 4.28 inches of precipitation this year, and averaged 4.63 inches of precipitation last season. Since March 1, the spring has brought 3.8 inches of the 4.28 inches produced this year.
Taeger said, La Nina will begin to return to normality as conference and state tournaments rapidly approach.
"As far as La Nina, sea surface temperatures are beginning to get closer to normal," Taeger said. "So it's pretty much over with."
Perhaps it's time to start another storm in Minot, and reexamine the discussions that began in 2008 with the possibilities of a community bowl. According to a 2008 article in The Minot Daily News, the indoor structure was to have a multiple-use facility for youth and community activities that would have been able to house such spring sports.
The proposed 75,000-square-foot seasonal dome would be perfect for days like Friday, and give endless opportunities to even host major events such as state track and field, currently hosted by Bismarck.
A bowl committee member in 2008, Minot State Athletic Director Rick Hedberg arbitrarily estimated the economic impact of such a dome could be $2.5-$3 million a year for Minot. In a hypothetical and dream-scenario, we host a state track and field event.
In any case, I am ready for the No. 1 seed La Nina, No. 2 seed precipitation, and the No. 3 seed Mother Nature to be eliminated.
Rock legend John Fogerty, who was inspired after he attended the 1984 All-Star Game, in San Fransisco, Calif., to write the song "Centerfield" that is still a staple at baseball warm-ups nationwide 26 years after its 1985 release, couldn't have said it better "Put me in coach, I am ready to play ... today ..."
Jason Blasco is a sports writer for The Minot Daily News. He can be reached via email at jblasco@minot