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Want to start the spring preparatory sports season later? I do not think so

Every spring I hear the same cry from ice-cold prep sports fans.

It’s time to move the season later in the year.

According to them, the temperatures are too cold in March and April. By the time the snow melts, the rain comes and half the season is gone without much to be seen.

Starting a month later, they believe, would soften the impact of the frigid weather and provide athletes with a larger window of competition, similar to what they experience early in the fall season.

Sounds good, but there’s one problem. It will not work.

I wore shorts to competitions in March and winter jackets in June. It’s unfortunately life in the Midwest, and specifically anywhere near Chicago.

Shifting the season doesn’t change the magical fact that we go to sleep to temperatures in the 30s and wake up to temperatures in the 80s. There are no weather guarantees here, especially in the spring.

There is no escape from the climate crisis. If you started the spring season a month later this year, you would still have an abundance of cold rain showers.

The biggest shame of inclement weather each spring lies with baseball and softball, where playing in the Midwest can hinder development. There’s a reason why SEC, Big 12 and Pac-12 schools do well in these sports, while the Big Ten’s baseball and softball teams often struggle.

The top players simply don’t feel like dealing with the questionable spring weather in this area. That’s why many high school baseball and softball teams in northern Illinois head to warmer climates during spring break, taking weekend trips to southern Illinois.

You do what you can to get your games in when the weather becomes such a big factor. Navigating a spring season with more than 30 games is like sprinting through a minefield.

But it is a tap dance that must be done as long as baseball and softball remain spring sports.

Another argument against moving the spring season later in the year is the handling of senior athletes. How much can you expect from students who have already graduated?

It’s strange enough in the spring when you have athletes from different sports competing in the morning and graduating that afternoon. Is it fair to expect them to still commit to a high school team just weeks after graduating?

I’m sure some graduates would be fine with a later season, but others are moving on and preparing for college. It’s just one of the logistical issues schools will face as the spring season is pushed deeper into June.

Many of the younger athletes – whether they play football, volleyball, track or tennis – have summer camp or travel team commitments. Asking them to participate in a later spring season can also be difficult.

Look, I get it. March and April are often terrible, sometimes unbearable, for practicing outdoor sports. And I’m sure May will offer much tastier weather.

But moving the season later is not the solution.

We’ve been around here long enough to know that the weather here is too crazy to depend on anything.