March memories that include freezing on the field

Published 4:51 pm Monday, March 20, 2023

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Last week I was standing in the bitter cold umpiring three baseball and softball games and wondering why people call them “spring sports”.  Other sports like golf, tennis, track and lacrosse are being played in the cold winds of March as well. I was freezing despite wearing layers of clothing that included Tracey’s leopard print long handles to keep my legs warm and tickled that she had them for me to wear.  It was cold and I knew that the players had to be cold too.

I can remember back in high school when baseball started it was always cold.  We never needed a Mrs. Carver’s drink and chili dog during practice like we did during football practice.  March and early April, brought cold winds but we still practiced.  On game days, Mr. Perry, Mr. Woolard and Dr. Zeno used a barrel to start a fire and hoped it lasted to the end of the game.   I guess the weather never bothered the players until they got older and then it would bother them.

Colleges call football practice in the spring “Spring Ball”! It is anything but spring ball because we had workouts in the morning prior to spring ball at 5:00 A.M.  Everyone wanted coffee and the equipment people made sure that we were layered in clothing. Even in the afternoon practice we were layered and nothing felt as good as a warm shower and a cup of hot coffee.

The spring practice always culminates with “The Spring Game “.  It once was 20 days, but has dwindled to 15. Now, that is another animal! We usually wear shorts at that game because it is mid-April and the weather has gotten warmer by then and spectators usually tailgated for the game.

Baseball season is in full swing by then and the temperature has risen and the baseball players hit home runs onto the practice field as they got use to warm weather. The baseball team usually had a three game series, and pitch count is not a factor like it was in the beginning of the season.  We never had a pitch count in high school and we were lucky to save our arms till the weather warmed up.

March is kite month and I enjoyed my kite like no one else.  Before, I played varsity baseball and before I got to high school, Rose Ann and I would fly our kites over at the high school.  We would sit there and wonder what it saw because it was so high up in the air.  It probably was not as far as Pam’s Soda Shop but to us it was far from where we sitting and it was only next to Ninth Street.

 High school players if you are playing any of the spring sports I have mentioned, make sure to wrap up and stretch before and after practice.  It will save you from a muscle pull that could sideline you for months.  I have seen torn hamstrings and shoulder injuries before- we were lucky!

They were the best of times with the best of friends and in the best of places, Washington, N.C!  The Original Washington!!