Snow a rite of spring training for Sailors

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— The asphalt surface of the parking area at Emerald Park is perfectly suited for holding cars.

During the summer, spring and fall, the lot is full of cars left there by owners who are off playing or coaching soccer and baseball. Or the owners might be off enjoying the playground or the Botanic Park, or simply watching one of several games that normally take place on any given day.

But last Friday, members of the Steamboat Springs girls' soccer team used the space to prove that all you need to hold a successful practice is coaches, players and soccer balls.

They showed that grass is optional as long as you have a place like Emerald Park -- or at least the asphalt surface of its parking lot.

The surface may be a little bit harder and more unforgiving than a traditional practice field, but it seemed perfectly suited for passing, dribbling or any other assorted drill coach Rob Bohlmann could dream up.

The upside of asphalt is that it doesn't have to be watered in drought years. The bad news is that Bohlmann's players end up scratched and bruised should they take a tumble while battling for a loose ball.

Sure, the players probably would prefer grass, but the absence of cars in the parking lot is a pretty good indication that green grass is more than a few warm days away.

Until the snow melts, the sports teams at the high school will have to make the most of parking lots, carpeted hallways and school gyms.

But then, making due is as much a part of spring sports here in Steamboat as traveling to play games during the first two-thirds of the season. By the time area fields have shed the winter snow, most sports teams will be eyeing the playoffs.

In the past, our local teams have proven that they can adapt to almost any practice surface.

Many have not only adapted, but also have shown they can be successful in the process.

Since moving to Steamboat Springs I've witnessed it all.

I've watched hurdlers run at full speed in the hallways of the school.

I've ducked to avoid being hit by a wild baseball thrown in the tight quarters of the high school gym.

And I've had a half dozen coaches explain to me that several feet of snow is not an excuse for losing.

The one thing I've learned about spring sports is that kids just want to get out and play -- even if it's kicking a ball around in the parking lot.

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Don't Miss -- On Monday, the community will celebrate Johnny Spillane's Nordic combined world championship. The event is at 5 p.m. in Gondola Square. Spillane won the world title in the sprint event at Val de Fiemme, Italy on Feb. 28.

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