Photo by John F. Russell
The bleachers at Gardner Field have been covered with snow a lot this spring, and Friday was no exception. The weather has wreaked havoc on spring sports this year, creating a busy schedule for teams before the season ends.
Steamboat Springs On Friday, Steamboat Springs High School Athletic Director Luke DeWolfe probably spent more time on the phone than he had for a while.
It’s not that DeWolfe loves the phone. It’s that spring — or extended winter or whatever that darn groundhog says — makes sports in the Yampa Valley this time of year a scheduling nightmare.
Cancellations and postponements happen more frequently than goals.
“Days like today, as an athletic director, you earn your money,” DeWolfe said Friday between calls with coaches, transportation directors, parents and other athletic directors. “The phones don’t stop ringing. So many different teams are affected. Everyone is affected. It’s a juggling act.”
But that’s nothing new for spring sports in Steamboat Springs. This seems to happen every year. But this spring, or winter, it’s been especially tough.
“It’s like a big puzzle really,” DeWolfe said. “You try and fit things together and be creative to try and get these games in. It’s just part of having spring sports on the Western Slope. It’s the hand you’re dealt up here.”
With the help of the turf at Gardner Field, Steamboat has been able to get in a lot of games it otherwise wouldn’t have.
But when it comes to the road, things get more complicated.
No coach knows this better than girls soccer coach Rob Bohlmann. Bohlmann just smirked Friday when asked what the toughest part is. He’s been through this countless times.
He knows at the start of the season that weather likely will dictate a week of madness.
Starting Tuesday, the girls soccer team will play four games in a row.
“Adapting to the conditions, I almost look at it as a positive,” Bohlmann said. “Over the years, it’s helped me grow as a coach. You learn to think outside the box with how you train, develop and prepare. It still has to get done. It helps you to be creative. Ultimately, it helps the student athlete. You still have to train and get prepared in less than perfect conditions.”
Some programs, however, face a more difficult task.
Baseball in Steamboat is never easy. The team rarely plays at home, and when it does, those games are in Craig.
The weather has been especially tough for first year manager Kellen Baker. The team has had doubleheaders with Battle Mountain postponed twice.
That means, like soccer, next week becomes a daunting task.
Steamboat has scheduled doubleheaders Tuesday, Saturday and May 10. The team also hasn’t played in two weeks.
“It’s tough for the kids,” Baker said. “It’s tough to expect them to turn it on for a doubleheader and then wait for two weeks and turn it on again. It’s tough to get a rhythm going and any type of consistency.”
The Colorado High School Activities Association also mandates that each sport play its games by a certain date.
That adds to the spring scheduling chaos, especially when winter doesn’t seem to want to let go.
But through it all, there is a silver lining. Games eventually will be played. And maybe the best thing of all: The weather will get nicer.
“Hopefully,” DeWolfe concluded, “it’s sunny next week.
To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com