EISEN: Spring sports, we will survive this persistent winter
With sunscreen sprayed on, I threw my lawn chair and computer bag over my shoulder and secured my Canon camera around my neck. Then, it hit me. A foul ball to the face to wake me up from my daydream.
“What a great day it would have been to cover some baseball,” I thought while sitting at my work desk trying to coming up with a clickbait opening paragraph for this column.
Instead of scoping out the Minot High School baseball team taking its hacks at Jack Hoeven Park on Saturday, I was scrolling through our schedule of local sporting events trying to figure out what I was going to write about.
I reconsidered traveling down to Aberdeen, but any motivation I had left to drive the nine-hour round trip for the Minot Minotauros playing in Game 2 of the NAHL Central Division semifinals had been wiped away after the Aberdeen Wings 6-0 shutout performance Friday night.
Other options? Minot High boys golf in Bismarck: canceled. Majettes softball in West Fargo: canceled. Magi baseball hosting Dickinson at Hoeven: postponed. And with all Minot State athletics on the road, this column came to be.
It’s mid-April and a prolonged winter keeps throwing curveballs to derail the spring sports season. When the end seems in sight, like right now, temperatures drop and more snowflakes fall.
To all the spring coaches who have asked me to do something about the snow, I’m sorry I haven’t gained any superpowers in my two years of living in the Magic City. Therefore, I don’t know if the weather this upcoming week will punish us again or show mercy.
But, what I do know is everyone will survive this. Enduring the elements is just what people do in North Dakota. The sports programs are no different.
Teams from around the region haven’t just been sitting around in a circle and complaining about the weather at practice the last couple of weeks.
They have been finding creative ways to work around it, like softballs being thrown in the Bishop Ryan school parking lot, the Minot High girls track and field team doing warm-ups in the hallways of the Magic City Campus or the Magi boys golf team using indoor putting greens.
The addition of the Minot State air-supported dome on the football field at Herb Parker Stadium has helped immensely in providing a safe haven. The bubble prevented the MSU softball schedule from drastically shrinking, allowed high school softball teams to start its seasons, kept the MSU football spring practices rolling along and offered a driving range for the golfers.
One way or another, coaches and players have found ways to cope with the situation. Athletic administrators and directors have done the same, but their fun of rescheduling the growing number of postponements has only just begun.
This isn’t ideal. But, if there is any silver lining, this winter has brought out an admirable resiliency in the sports community to keep pushing forward. From student-athletes shoveling out Corbett Field to putting together impromptu indoor track and field meets, the sacrifices that are being made now aren’t going unnoticed.
The reward of getting to play sports outside will make this current struggle worth it in the end.
Spring will be here soon enough, hopefully. Keep fighting.