By Bill Mullaly
Spring sports are just getting going this week with five different Hudson High Schoool teams slated for action. With none of the track and field teams or the ball teams competing last week due to the vacation from school. They all will find plenty of competition this week. Spring sports are unique in this area as they face some circumstances and distractions that the other sports don’t normally see. Whether an athlete plays boy’s or girl’s track and field, baseball or softball or perhaps boy’s golf they are participating in a spring sport that is different than how things are in fall or winter sports. There are just a lot of issues that make the spring sports so unique and challenging.
Here is a look at why the spring sports are up against it when they take place each year:.
First, the spring sports are the third sport each school year or the last one. They are just as important but still many athletes perhaps are tired or worn out and they not want to do a spring sport. It is often tough for coaches to recruit spring sport athletes after many have played two sports to start the school year.
Then each March when practice commences the teams are battling against the annual all-school play. Nothing wrong with that except it cuts into and takes valuable practice time away from the athletes who are also in the play. Hudson started spring sports practices on Monday, March 14th and the play was also going on that time with play practices leading up to the big weekend of March 24-27th. Each year in doing the preseason stories the coaches tell me repeatedly that they are unsure of there numbers or exactly how things are going due to the play and not all athletes being at all the practices. It is something the coaches have learned to live with but it is unlike the other two seasons that don’t have to worry about this issue. Then the coaches of spring sports have to deal with practicing inside, which is tough on the teams. If they get some good days great as they can get outside but if not then it is in the gym where what they can do is limited.
So, the teams are working with the play schedule and fighting the weather issue and then the next thing you know the third week of practice gets going and the kids are all there and the weather is improving slightly and what do you it is time for the annual spring break. The students this year took off on April 1st so if the coaches wanted to practice over spring break it was good luck trying to get the athletes there as many head to warmer climates in far off places like Florda, South Carolina or Mexico if they are really lucky.
Spring break is just a fact of doing business with spring sports and it is very hard to schedule games. Hudson took the smart path this year and didn’t schedule any athletic events for spring break as it is very hard to get students all there. Practices are hit and miss as it is hard to even practice when many are missing and is it fair to those who don’t leave for spring break to have to practice? Schools are against demanding students stay home and play or practice as many of the spring break trips are family affairs. In Michigan it is just the thing to do to get away after a long, hard, cold, snowy winter.
Okay, the weather is getting nicer, the play is behind them, spring break is over and now it is time to tee it up, batter up or runners get set but hold on. In April in Michigan the rain is a common occurrence and happens often. It is nothing for teams to on occasion miss a whole week of action if the weather is inclement and does not cooperate. It is tough to schedule games in the spring as you never know about the weather.
Games and meets often do not go off as schedule and it plays havoc with the schedule but that is a fact of life in the spring time. Rainouts are common for the ball teams of baseball and softball and golf. Track and field can go in the rain but it often is better to reschedule if it is a heavy or consistent rain. Making matters worse for Hudson is that we compete in the LCAA with three far off teams. Thus, the question is do we send a team to Ida at 2:00 for a 4:00 doubleheader when it is raining, might rain, is forecast to rain or is just starting to cloud up? You certainly don’t want to go all the way over there and then not be able to play. Rescheduled events are just a way of life in the spring and it will always be that way in Michigan.
Things are starting to settle down and all the early spring things are behind the teams and then it is time for the prom. Hudson is one of the smart schools that does not try to play on the day of prom. This year the event is Saturday, April 30th and Hudson is going to have all five teams playing on Friday, April 29th so there is no conflict with the prom. This is a wise move and something they have done for the past several years but some schools still try to play on the prom date and it makes it tough for all involved in what is the biggest social event of the year for many students.
Prom is past and then spring sports have to deal with the problem of “senioritis” as the soon-to-be-graduates can get edgy at this time of year and it is easy for them to lose focus on the sport they are playing. Hudson will graduate on Sunday, May 29th and all students are done on Friday, May 27th. This means that for some of the sports that the big games will be with the students not in school. This gets them off their daily routine and makes it tough at times. All coaches always say it is better for the kids to keep the same routine but in the spring sports at least at some schools like Hudson the school year is over but the teams are still playing. This is just another issue the fall and winter sports don’t face.
Okay, so the season is winding down and then it is over like that and the athletes say “gee the season went quick.” Another problem with spring sports is that they face the shortest season of all. The fall sports all go at least nine to ten weeks of competition and the winter sports are longer. In the spring the teams start this week and will play seven full weeks and then it is Memorial Day weekend. All junior varsity sports are done in a seven-week time frame. Not very long to really have a solid season of ball or competiiton. The varsity sports can go one week longer or more if they win in the districts. Thus, shorter seasons are just another issue that works against spring sports and that is while they face very possible inclement weather forcing the missing of events, especially at the junior varsity level as they don’t have to be made up contest like the vasity does.
Finally, throw in all the other things like graduation, open houses, senior trips or class trips not to mention field trips and there is a lot going on in the spring. It is fun to be outside on nice, warm or perhaps hot spring days but there is a lot for athletes and coaches to compete against to make it all seem worthwhile. With that said good luck to all the five spring sports at all levels as they compete for league, team or personal success. Go Tigers!
Golfers open season
On Monday it was time to tee it up as the Hudson linksters were on the course at the Lenawee Country Club. Hudsonand Sand Creek were up against much bigger schools as they were the lone Division 4 teams competing. Hudson was 13th of 16 teams. “It was a good start considering spring break just ended and that the conditions and the course were tough,” said coach Kevin Reed. “We have been doing our best to practice at Evergreen but the course was affected by the ice storm and that has put us a bit behind. The Shaffers have done a great job getting the course cleared and ready for us to use.”
The top golfer for Hudson on Monday at the Adrian Invitational was Jon Ames with a 92. Others golfing were Brian Crater with a 93, Richard Varner a 99, Justin Boies with a 104 and Zach Woodford a 109. The team was at Ida yesterday (Wednesday) and will head to Dundee for the first LCAA jamboree on Friday.