Weathering the storm

The effect of weather on spring sports

“As a spring athlete,” said athletic director Homar Ramirez, “you know it’s going to be a factor. You can’t control it.” Rain, snow and thunderstorms are the three main contributors of spring cancellations. Because of weather in spring sports there are many problems with fields and courts. In Minnesota, where the winters of 2013 and 2014 belong in the record book: longest winter and coldest winter, respectively, spring sports end up paying the real price.

On May 8, the girls’ softball teams and the boys’ C squad baseball teams all had home games at Fort Snelling. “Right as we got there,” said freshman Kenny Kiratli, “the game got canceled and we turned around and went back to school. I don’t think the game will get re-scheduled.”

When the spring season starts, it is usually pushed back due to the snow. Then, with the spring weather, games are usually postponed even more. Is there a way to help the impending chaos season that’s going to happen?

“Weather-wise, there is no solution,” Ramirez said. “Facilities-wise, we can come up with solutions, the biggest solution being a turf field. With a turf field, we don’t have to worry about ground conditions. A turf field will be installed sometime in the future.”

Having a turf field solves some problems for lacrosse games, baseball and softball practices and soccer in the fall. But, what about track and golf?

“The main issue for track is lightning,” said Christian Zimmerman, assistant track coach. “We can’t have a meet in lightning or soaking rain. When it’s raining, though, we are pretty fortunate. The field events practice inside with some of the runners, but I make the long-distance runners run in the rain.”

A big topic that’s been brought up to the Minnesota State High School League is moving some spring sports to the fall. Elk River golf coach Dave Conley has been trying to move boys’ golf to the fall for 15 years.

“In the spring, we’re at the mercy of Mother Nature,” Conley explained to the Star Tribune. “I’ve been doing some research to see if boys’ golf can be moved to the fall.”

In Iowa, the boys’ and girls’ teams play golf in the fall. After being asked if a sport should be moved to the fall, Ramirez responded, “I believe the sport that needs to be moved to the fall is golf. There is a natural transition from summer golf to fall golf. Players shouldn’t have to wait ‘till spring to play again. That is the only realistic switch that I see.”

However, some athletes might be forced to make a difficult decision between two sports if they are moved around.

“If golf is moved to the fall, I would have to choose between soccer and golf,” said freshman Elliot Dorow Hovland. “It would be a tough decision but I would choose the sport that I have the most fun playing.”

For now, there is no perfect solution to spring weather and it’s effects on the ground. “I’m no grass expert, but dumping all the snow on the Guido Kauls Athletic Field is not healthy for it,” Ramirez said. “A turf field is going to happen in the future and that will solve a few problems but no one can control the weather. We have to accept the weather as a part of the game.”




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