Snow pushes spring sports indoors
High school spring sports practices were scheduled to begin on March 2 in preparation for the upcoming season.
But like a number of years in the past, snowfall as the end of winter hits has put a damper on those practice plans in early March.
Two separate storms last week, including Thursday's winter blast that saw much of the Lehigh Valley receive over six inches of snow, covered playing surfaces across the region. That put to rest any idea of baseball, lacrosse, tennis or track and field teams from practicing outside.
In fact, with schools closed for a number of days due to the bad weather, teams were prohibited from practicing at all, whether it is the school's gymnasium or an alternate location.
"Everybody is in the same boat, and we're all in the same circumstances," Monica Deeb, Salisbury Director of Student Activities, said. "You just try to get the best you can with a tough situation, and I believe we are."
Fortunately for the Salisbury boys' tennis team, head coach Rob Benson was able to get in one practice on Monday at Winning Touch Tennis in Allentown, an indoor facility. But after that practice on opening day, the Falcons were held off the courts for the rest of the week.
"We had two days that were snowed out, so we couldn't practice," Benson said. "Technically we only had one practice because of the weather. When school is cancelled, we are not allowed to have practice."
With two gymnasiums at Salisbury, the baseball and softball teams have been able to split time in one, with the track and field spending time in the other, as well as outside on school grounds at times.
"We're in a little bit better shape than some people are I would imagine," Deeb said. "I was at school [Sunday], and you couldn't see the track. You can't see the turf."
With this week's forecast predicted in the mid 40s and low 50s, schools figure to be operating back on a normal schedule once again, which means a full week of practice for most teams.
The tennis courts at Salisbury's Lindberg Park may still be covered in some snow, but Benson has already scheduled three more days of practice at Winning Touch Tennis this week.
"We'll be there three days this week," Benson said. "It's not as bad for me as it is for some of the other coaches because I don't have that many players. When you get into softball, baseball and track and field, you have a lot of people."
An alternate location has both its pros and cons.
First, Benson and the Falcons have just two courts reserved for this week, compared to the four that Salisbury uses on a regular basis during the season. That may mean less court time for a number of players.
On the other hand, practicing at an indoor facility allows them to work out on a regulation court unlike the other spring sports. Baseball and softball players won't have the luxury of taking the field and throwing from the diamond for at least a few days or possibly much longer. The same goes for track and field competitors, they'll most likely be confined to indoor practices.
"It's only an hour and a half of practice," Benson said. "There's not much I can do.
"Obviously we can't practice the same way. I have to run some drills, but I only have two courts. I'm putting my singles players on one court and my doubles players on another."
The tennis team is scheduled to open its season on Friday at Palmerton, followed by a home match against Saucon Valley on Monday. The baseball and softball teams take the diamond on Monday, March 23.