The Wide Angle: Leave my tournaments alone

Published 7:01 am Sunday, March 5, 2017

I was angry with winter last week — I don’t like being angry with winter.

Anybody who knows me along with the four people that read this column know that winter is my favorite time of year. The snow, the cold, the joy of coming in from outside to a Crockpot of fresh chili combine to make me feel at home in the deadest part of the year.

However, that’s not to say I wasn’t disappointed in Mother Nature’s abrupt mood change, dumping fresh foot of just the wettest snow you’ve ever walked through on us.

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Her timing was just abysmal, but really I knew it was coming. It’s the postseason.

Our winter sports are in the homestretch of our athletic run for the roses and aside from just now letting me use a cluster of horse racing references in one sentence, it means a busy time of year involving running here, there and everywhere across the state.

Naturally this wouldn’t be the winter postseason without a snowstorm hitting at the absolute worst time.

I’ve driven in some pretty horrendous weather conditions in the past. I don’t like it, but I’ve done it.

Early in my career I was surprised by the onset of a winter storm that forced me to stay overnight in a Watertown, South Dakota Super 8. The storm, which wasn’t supposed to hit until I was well home that night, swung swiftly south, closing the interstate all in the face of what weather predictions indicated. I’m not saying it’s completely the meteorologist’s fault, but I am blaming them for needing to run to Walmart for socks and underwear, toothbrush and toothpaste.

More recently, a couple years back now, Rocky and I missed the first day of the Minnesota Class A State Gymnastics Meet at the University of Minnesota and then trekked three hours the next day for the individual meet the next day, skating north on Interstate 35 and missing the first rotation, despite bounding in like champions in our own right.

And no, there was no standing ovation.

The state gymnastics meet usually is the problem child of our state tournament/meet coverage. There’s been some assorted basketball tournaments affected by snow, but gymnastics gets it more than most. Maybe it’s Mother Nature upping the degree of difficulty and if that’s the case Rocky and I scored a 9.8 on the drive a couple years ago.

That’s a quality score.

This year I wouldn’t be so lucky.

We first heard of the storm a good full week prior, but nobody knew what it was going to do. It was up, it was down, it was hitting the Twin Cities it was hitting us, it was playing right field for the Minnesota Twins in spring training. Nobody seemed to know what it was going to which made planning tricky.

By Wednesday though I started to get the idea that only one of us was going to make it up and by Thursday morning we made the following decision: After Thursday coverage, Rocky would beat cheeks north trying to stay ahead of the storm and stay with a buddy into Friday. We really weren’t show any other media we’ve worked with would make it so this was our best chance to get somebody up there.

I, unfortunately, remained grounded in Austin, dealing with what would be the full force of the storm, which just a day or two early was predicted to drill the Twin Cities. By Thursday night it was snowing pretty good and by Friday morning at 4 p.m. me and my girlfriend were going nowhere. I thought about driving her to work, but even the intrepid and legendary Sunfire was not going to make it through this morass of snow.

In short Rocky made it and got to enjoy full two days of absolutely no snow whatsoever where as I and all of the rest of us were left to dig out.

This is where I started getting angry with winter. At 5:30 a.m. I began snow blowing, trying to blow snow that was more the consistency of wet cement. After about 30 minutes of fighting with it, laced with a generous dash of colorful language, the plows came by and I got my girlfriend to work, came home, got semi-ready for work and trudged in, only to have to face blowing my sidewalk and the neighbor’s driveway as well as get the heavy stuff off my roof.

Seriously, Mother Nature, that first big storm of the year was nice and fluffy and easy to move — why, after several spring-like days, did you have to serve this mess up? I was content with what you had given us so far this year and now you make me hate you.

Looking ahead, I see the temperatures are climbing again and if I seem suspicious its because we have boys and girls state basketball tournaments coming up where we have good chances of having teams in both.

I’m watching you Mother Nature.