Scheduling outdoor sports events in early spring is kind of like hitting the casino for an evening of entertainment.
The outcome could be rewarding but more than likely it will end up in disappointment.
For the Central Lakes College Raiders and Brainerd area high schools, it has been the latter more than the former this spring.
Rain, cold, snow and ice have been plentiful in April and it has caused postponements and cancellations all spring long. And as postponements and cancellations continue to mount, so do the problems.
"It becomes a time constraint more than anything else," said Brainerd High School Activities Director Todd Selk. "We're going to run out of days to play. And, it bunches games together so much. From an academic standpoint, kids are missing school.
"But it's nothing out of the usual. It's something we've all experienced. With the nice March and February, everybody was thinking we were ahead of the game. We should have been knowledgeable and known it's still Minnesota."
Minnesota weather always shows it's teeth each spring. But when athletes like some members of the Verndale softball team are throwing outside in February, snow on April 17 is kind of tough to take.
"I think this has been the worst spring because of the nice weather we got early on," said sixth-year Pirates coach Joe Otremba, whose team has already had four postponements this season. "Girls were out throwing before practice (the first week of March) even started and they were real good about it. We got a taste for being outside and then it got taken away from us."
Verndale even had a game against Bertha-Hewitt postponed twice. The original contest was scheduled April 3 and the makeup was called last Friday after only three innings because of snow and cold. After being inside for more than a month, all the Pirates want to do is get outside.
"The girls are getting frustrated because they're sick of practicing inside and I'm sick of trying to find stuff to do inside," Otremba said. "Because we're a small school, we share the gym with the baseball team and then we would only practice two or three times a week. Even before our first game on April 3, we had a month of practice in and that gets a little long."
And then there's the chance it might just be nice out and everybody wants to be taking advantage of beautiful weather.
"I don't think you can schedule any later than we do," said Selk, whose teams started their outdoor events on April 11 for the most part. "Some years you're going to get in those games and some you're not. You schedule knowing full well you might not get them in.
"But if it's a really nice week you don't want to miss it. They're so ready to play and if you had a beautiful day it would drive people nuts. The frustration now is you get ready to play and then by 2 p.m. you pull the plug on them. It's frustrating."
Staples-Motley activities director and golf coach Glen Hasselberg tries his best to avoid that frustration. He makes an attempt not to schedule any events before April 15 because historically weather hasn't allowed it.
"History has proved anything before that date is a bonus or a hope," he said. "If you try to schedule stuff early and have to make it up, then it all runs together."
With more snow and cold scheduled for this week, the postponements and cancellations may continue to mount. And that may end up meaning there will be a number of missed games.
But, remember, it is spring in Minnesota.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.