Short, furious and still on hold
Norm Gallant sees a short and furious spring sports season taking shape.
A winter that has overstayed its welcome by many weeks has kept Gallant shuffling games, matches and meets around this spring.
“We are all in the same boat,” the Wadena-Deer Creek activities director said. “You do the best you can.”
At the midway point in April the Wolverines had competed in a total of three events – two track and field meets and one baseball game – all indoors. Last week, Gallant had to call off one of the biggest spring sports events of the year in Wadena – the Browne Invitational. A trip to Bemidji State for an indoor track and field meet April 11 also had to be aborted because a snowstorm forced the district to dismiss school at midday.
“The bad thing is the kids need experience in meets and we haven’t had opportunities,” WDC Head Track and Field Coach Terry Olson said.
As tough as it has been for track and field it has been impossible for baseball, softball, tennis and golf.
“We haven’t had a day when it’s been 40 degrees,” Gallant said. “We haven’t even seen the infield yet. The snow has never been gone.”
Gallant has concentrated his efforts on keeping Mid-State Conference matchups viable for the WDC teams.
“We’re just getting condensed,” Gallant said. “You want to keep all the conference stuff in.”
Activities Director Mike Mahlen cannot remember a spring like this since he came to Verndale more than four decades ago.
“We’ve had some cold springs before but the fields and the tracks have been usable,” Mahlen said.
Like Gallant, Mahlen has been working to keep the Park Region Conference schedules alive for his four spring sports teams.
“We’re going to try and get the conference taken care of,” Mahlen said.
Setting up doubleheaders has been one option for Mahlen.
“We have seven softball games scheduled in the first week of May,” Mahlen said. “In softball, we are looking at a four-week season.”
Mahlen would like to see the spring seasons start a little later in the future to avoid unplayable conditions but he does not see the seasons going further into June than they do.
“If we go into the summer some coaches aren’t going to want to do that,” Mahlen said.
Gallant believes it will take about 10 days once the fields are clear for them to be in good playing condition.
“Just give me 60 degree weather for one week and I’ll be happy,” Gallant said.
Gallant sees a lot of determination building up and just as soon as the fields, courses, tracks and courts are ready for action, he sees weather concerns taking a back seat.
“I think once we get a chance to play, we’re going to play,” Gallant said.