Wake me up when the spring high school sports season arrives. You got that?

No, don’t tell me it’s already here. I spoke with one high school baseball coach this week who told me in hushed, defeated tones that the pitcher’s mound was the only visible patch of earth on his low-lying diamond.

I knew spring. Spring was a friend of mine. And you, first-week-of-April-weather, were no spring.

People have asked for me for years, “What is your favorite thing to cover?” Invariably the copout answer is, “Whatever’s in season.” But that entire discussion is compromised when you have no bloody idea what season it is, in sports or in real life.

There are two types of people who own enormous wardrobes by necessity: Yo-yo dieters, and Maine sportswriters. Oh, the life to which you are condemned if you fall into both categories.

While combing social media Saturday, I saw a picture of the Dirigo baseball team getting ready to play its first scrimmage of the season at York, presumably because that was a less expensive southern trip than Tijuana. The players sat on a makeshift bench that would have been too close to the field for my comfort, with a foot-deep snowbank pressed up against their backs.

Seems about right.

That’s the beginning of the typical pattern. This week it melts and we start the baseball, softball, lacrosse, tennis and track and field seasons on time, contrary to every pessimistic prediction of the past two months.

Then April vacation week we’ll get that orphan 72-degree day, when we reporters post cover-your-eyes selfies in wrinkled t-shirts and unmatched shorts while bragging about our first sunburn of the season.

May ensues. It’s 60, sunny and glorious one day; 50, overcast and blustery the next; 42, drizzly and darned near intolerable the one after that. Because we’re all so happy to be outside and not stepping in ankle-deep mud, nobody even daydreams about postponing the latter event. The wind speed and direction are indelibly linked to the amount of protection you need from the black flies.

Right around Memorial Day we get the inevitable four consecutive days of torrential rain, making it next to impossible for every team to complete its regular season in a timely fashion. Once the sky-juice relents and the first round of the playoffs arrive, it’s just cold. Unseasonably, stupid cold. Players and fans alike, stakeholders of all ages, are outfitted in multiple layers from head to toe and cursing our dad for not accepting that work transfer to Alabama when we were 9.

It rains again just in time for the baseball semifinals and your high school’s outdoor graduation, which of course are scheduled within 4 to 18 hours of one another. Then it gets unbearably, exquisitely hot for the championship games later in the week. There’s a 45-minute lightning delay at some point, as if we all need one final reminder that none of us are in control.

All that said, there’s something romantic and Rockwellian about a frazzled man in a half-jog from the parking lot with a lawn chair, scorebook, reporter’s notebook, pen, pencil, windbreaker, ski jacket, umbrella and a can of deep-woods bug repellent in his hands, reporting for duty.

Dating back to the days when I put on the cleats and stirrups myself, this was the season I approached with the most eagerness. If pressed for an answer, it’s probably the one I’d say I still love the most.

Spring symbolizes new life, after all, and spring sports in Maine remind us in no uncertain terms that life is up, down, exhilarating, frustrating and unpredictable.

So please, by all means, do call me when it gets here. I’d hate to miss it.

Kalle Oakes is a staff writer. His email is [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Oaksie72.


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