Pete's Point: Weather conditions hinder spring activities
This spring's cold temperatures and snowy conditions are frustrating for many people, especially high school activity directors, coaches and players for area teams who have practiced inside for almost a month.
That frustration came through loud and clear during a recent call to Pine River-Backus activities director Randy Schwegel.
I had been typing in PR-B and Pequot Lakes spring sports schedules into our system when I noticed a conflict of location for a boys' golf meet on May 3. So I called Schwegel for clarification.
"Really Pete, you're going to ask me about a golf meet in May? Have you looked outside?" Schwegel said with a polite touch of sarcasm. "Our entire spring schedule is messed up."
For now, there's not much that Schwegel, or Pequot Lakes activities director Marc Helmrichs, can do except wait until the temperatures rise and the snow melts.
"Right now, we can reschedule last week's events, but if we are postponed for another week or two, then we will run out of dates," Helmrichs said on Monday, April 9. "You just try to be creative because you also have a lot of other school activities - like spring plays and prom. So it gets sticky when Mother Nature shortens (the schedule) by a few weeks. But everyone (around the state) is in the same boat."
Helmrichs adds that Mid-State Conference dates take priority for regular season events.
"Fortunately, we already schedule doubleheaders for conference baseball and softball games," said Helmrichs, who admits he is constantly watching the weather forecast. "We will try to play as many games as possible. It will be an interesting six weeks once we get started."
Helmrichs said coaches have to be creative with indoor drills to keep practice fun for the kids.
"No one has been out at all," he said of the spring athletes. I think it's tougher on the kids if you play outside for a week or two, then you have to go inside for practices. Maybe it's easier when the kids haven't had a taste (of playing outside).
"It seems like we get hit with (weather delays) one of out every five years. I remember five years ago we had a total of 92 varsity, junior varsity or middle level events postponed, and most of them were rescheduled."
For the latest updates on spring activities, follow the Pequot Lakes and PR-B school websites under the category of activities and athletics.
Cold Twins opener
Speaking of our challenging spring weather, I purchased tickets for the Thursday, April 5, Minnesota Twins home opener almost a month ago with a vision of much warmer conditions for outdoor baseball at Target Field.
But Mother Nature had different plans as cold temperatures and a record snowfall earlier in the week put the game in jeopardy. But team officials were determined to stay on schedule, especially with cooler temperatures forecast for the following day.
About 75 employees used shovels to clear snow and also spray hot water on the bleachers and concourses to melt the snow. And they did an admirable job as snow was only visible in a few locations, like the flower beds along the outfield fences.
Despite temperatures in the mid-30s, the sunshine did help enhance the mood of the crowd. Most were bundled up and took advantage of hot drinks (I think the hot chocolate supply was out by the fourth inning).
Fans seemed in good spirits, although many choose to walk around the stadium during the game while inside locations, like the merchandise stores and Hrbek's bar, had steady traffic.
A cool breeze did pick up in the final innings, along with a light snowfall, in the Twins' 4-2 victory. The excitement of three home runs, including Mitch Garver's tie-breaking shot in the seventh inning, helped warm up the crowd.
The opener was cold, but the Twins actually broke the temperature record two days later when it was 27 degrees for first pitch - breaking the previous mark of 31 degrees set on April 17, 2014.