Our Opinion: It’s time to start rethinking when spring sports are played

Published 6:10 pm Friday, April 22, 2022

As of the writing of this, April 20, 2022, the amount of baseball and softball games, track and golf meets and tennis duals that have been completed can very nearly be counted on both hands and maybe a toe for good measure.

In short: April has been atrocious and rains, combined with snow and a spate  of severe weather has forced the cancellation and/or postponement of several activities as well as practices.

Teams have been chased inside to do what they can and as everybody can probably guess, training for a baseball game in a gym is hardly ideal.

Minnesota has always given schools a myriad of weather conditions when the spring season gets underway and its not much of a surprise. Spring sports launch into full swing without much of a break from winter sports, if any at all for some. The Hayfield Vikings had only really enjoyed their second straight basketball title before many of them were off to Florida for their biannual baseball trip.

At least they got to play.

Meanwhile, in the rest of Minnesota, teams in all sports are struggling to even get practice time outside, never-mind what the north of Minnesota is dealing with. With a few feet of snow on the ground, who knows when they will be able to play without melting snow being visible behind the centerfield fence.

It’s getting better, but  we still believe it’s time for the Minnesota State High School League to give serious thought to moving spring sports back so that it can overlap more into summer.

There are concerns, naturally. During the summer months, families are looking to take vacations and generally enjoy not running to several things in one week.

In the past Legion baseball has voiced concerns that its season would be overshadowed. However, the fact of the matter is, that the spring season quickly becomes truncated when Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate, which is often.

As games and meets become postponed, schools become pinched as they scramble to find available dates to make these contests up. In turn this has athletes looking at the possibility of playing several times in one week and some of these dates will be doubleheaders.

In the case of baseball, where pitch counts are now being utilized to help save and protect young arms, there are further complications, especially with small schools who maybe don’t have the depth. Now it’s possible arms can become unavailable.

You are starting to hear more  murmurs for the idea and it’s what Iowa has been doing for years.

While we understand this is not an overnight decision, it’s time for the MSHSL to begin having more serious discussions toward this end. It’s not an unreasonable thought that parents and athletes who pay the fees, but continually see games pushed and shifted around to begin asking, “what’s the point?”

It’s also not unreasonable that some athletes, already on the fence, may decide to concentrate on sports like basketball, that aren’t nearly as dependent on good weather to play.

There will also have to be questions asked about the availability of coaches in the summer, but that’s why we are suggesting a stronger push toward discussing this subject. The entire season doesn’t have to be played in summer, but a later start date  in May will help schools develop around somewhat of a normal season.