Opinion

The boys and girls of spring | Editorial

What is amusingly called “spring sports” started Saturday on Whidbey Island. Early the next morning, daylight savings time kicked in, allowing some chance of finishing contests without flashlights and headlights for the next few weeks. Saturday was also remarkable as it was one day closer to the actual start of spring, which is Tuesday, March 20. What we’re playing now is winter sports.

Surprisingly, Saturday afternoon’s weather was tolerable. Monday morning’s gale was a more factual reminder of what spring sports is all about in the Northwest. Accuweather.com had Oak Harbor’s temperature listed at 35 degrees at 7:30 a.m., but the registered “RealFeel” was only 15 degrees, with winds laughingly listed at 22 mph hours pushing the downpour of rain sideways.

Of course, nobody plays spring sports at 7:30 a.m. By 3 p.m. it was supposed to be a balmy 46 degrees, but still raining. Only the Oak Harbor fastpitch team scheduled to play in a game beginning at 4:30 p.m. in Sedro-Woolley. The Wildcat girls faced a long bus ride followed by two miserable hours standing in the rain before nightfall would likely cut the contest short. That’s assuming they played, which they probably did. Nobody likes to cancel spring sports contests because if you do, games start stacking up like a cord wood, with perhaps a dozen still needing to be played if a long, sunny day should occur in May. That’s why, in most cases, the game must go on, even if sprinters are dashing into a 30 mph headwind filled with spray, or pitchers are ending their prospective major league careers at the age of 15 by blowing out their arms in slushy, 35 degree weather.

Sping weather in the Northwest helps explain why relatively few of our athletes eventually making a living at their chosen sport. In Arizona, California, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, athletes can practice their sport year around. In Washington, the tradition is to play until the weather starts turning good in late May, and then quit. It’s not unusual for Whidbey Island Little League players to have never seen the sun, unless they make the post-season.

There are plenty of reasons not to like the present school calendar, which was set when kids needed to help raise the crops in the summer, so school was called off. It’s time to realize the economy has changed and kids have no jobs in the summer. So let them play summer sports. Start school in January and end it at the close of October. That way, our kids will learn what the boys and girls of summer are all about.

 

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