"Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains."
That great Crash Davis quote from "Bull Durham" always comes to mind during a springtime storm. Sure, the rain is necessary for the trees, flowers and farms, but it sure can put a damper on the sports schedule.
Professional baseball players and their fans become warriors during rain delays, battling boredom along with the elements in a seemingly-endless waiting game. Grounds crews watch the radar, fans bundle up under umbrellas, and players surf the TV channels or play cards in the locker room, looking for the clouds to part and the field to dry off. In the minor leagues, everyone from the GM to the ball boys pitch in to roll tarps, clean seats and do whatever is necessary to play ball.
College spring sports, especially in the northeastern U.S. are especially at the mercy of the weather. Baseball and softball teams at Penn State, St. Francis and others tune up for the spring season indoors, and take spring break trips to warmer climates in preparation for conference play, sometimes playing dozens of games on the road before being able to take to their home field. When they do finally get to play on their own diamond, it's often with layers of clothing to keep warm, or dodging April and May showers and thunderstorms.
The high school spring sports schedule is always at the mercy of Mother Nature, bringing out the hidden juggling talents of athletic directors around the region to get all of the games, matches and meets rescheduled. Rough weather adds not only layers of clothing to track and field stars, but also tenths of seconds to their performance times. Imagine anchoring a relay team and trying to hold on to a rain-slicked baton. Soggy tennis balls: Enough said.
Rain can instantly put the brakes on racing at local tracks like the Bedford Speedway, which recently recorded its first three straight rain-free Friday nights in years, before this past weekend's rain-out.
There are some fun things to do during springtime showers, like watch old Pirates interviews and Sportsbeat shows on FSN Pittsburgh with the "rain delay" bug in the corner of the screen. Or how about curling up on the couch during a downpour with a bag of popcorn and a great sports movie? "Bull Durham'' will always be my favorite. The Durham Bulls gave themselves a rain-out by turning on the sprinklers at the ballpark and then sliding around the muddy base paths like little boys.
There is a life lesson in the words of Crash Davis, who could probably remember being a kid, devastated by a washed-out Little League game.
Rain is a good thing, but sometimes it's more fun to have the chance to win, or even lose.
Goodman can be reached at kellie@BedfordCountyChamber.org. Her column appears on Tuesdays.