Mother Nature no help with spring schedules
The first day of spring, Friday, March 20, is a little more than a week away, but like recent years, high school spring sports teams are in a familiar position in early March.
A late winter with periods of heavy snow have once again caused baseball, softball, lacrosse, tennis and track and field teams issues with their outdoor practice schedules that began last Monday, March 2. Due to covered playing fields across the area, most teams have been forced inside gymnasiums to replicate their practice situations. Volleyball, on the other hand, is fortunate enough to remain practicing on their normal courts.
It may not be the most ideal of situations, but recent years have made the switch indoors a bit smoother.
Northampton is utilizing three different facilities to accommodate all of its spring sports.
"All teams are being scheduled gym time until the outdoor sports are able to get outside," Northampton Athletic Director Todd Bowser said. "We are using three gyms from 3-9 p.m. in order to get everyone gym time."
Two snowstorms last week, including one on Thursday that brought in excess of six inches to the Lehigh Valley, hurt any chance of teams practicing outside. Last week's snow not only forced team's inside to practice, but the school also remained closed for a number of days due to that bad weather. That, in turn, left teams without practice time throughout the all-important tryouts period.
"The biggest issue is that tryouts and evaluations for all sports must be done inside," Bowser said. "For outside sports such as baseball, softball and lacrosse, it is impossible to mimic what you do outside on the field in a gym."
With temperatures projected to hover in the mid 40s and low 50s this week, snow will begin to melt and allow athletes to get on a normal practice schedule. But that practice figures to remain inside or in vacant parking lots at best.
"Last year's winter was very bad as well," Bowser said. "We had more snow last year, but the temperatures have been much colder this year."
Bowser anticipates that spring sports will once again go through a hectic, compact schedule over the course of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference season.
"Because of this [cold weather] and the late snow this past week, I feel that spring sports will be pushed back a little bit later this year," Bowser said. "Once we are able to get on the fields to play games, our schedules will be very tight in order to get all of our games in."