Commentary: Weather hurting spring sports

Some general thoughts while still wondering when the “out like a lamb” part of March will actually get here …

n Blue Knob is opening for skiing this weekend during what has to be its best March in quite a while. The resort reports 45 inches of snow on the mountain this month, giving ski-lovers the chance to celebrate Easter on the slopes.

Spring skiing offers some added benefits, like great deals on lift tickets, rentals, and lodging as well as lessons, so if you’ve always wanted to give it a try, now’s a great time.

n Practicing baseball and softball indoors has to be getting old.

High school teams, as always during the early parts of the season, are struggling to get on the field, and the contests that are played this week will be cold and miserable for players and fans. The challenges of spring sports in the northeast are testing the patience of even the most dedicated of ballplayers this year.

The St. Francis softball team, for example, is off to a 15-10 start, but most of their games have been played south of the Mason-Dixon Line during trips to Virginia, Maryland and Florida.

Now back in Loretto after the early-season tournaments, the Red Flash have suffered two canceled doubleheaders in the last week, including today’s scheduled games at Akron.

By the time the weather is warm enough in Pennsylvania to actually be enjoyable, the season will be almost over.

n NASCAR’s off weekend comes at a good time for some hot tempers to cool off.

Five-time Cup champion Jimmy Johnson said prior to Sunday’s race that this is the week drivers would really start to “settle into the season.”

After a couple of superspeedways, a short track and a couple in between, teams are more comfortable with their new cars, and getting down to the week-in-week-out business of collecting points and purses. It only took five races for actual fists to fly, as Joey Logano traded paint with Denny Hamlin and then words and blows with Tony Stewart.

The fight is a reminder of the importance of every race and place to each team; Hamlin’s trip to the hospital is a reminder that there can be serious consequences to high-speed scraps.

Other headlines of note: Kyle Busch not involved in the altercations; Dale Earnhardt Jr. moves into the points lead.

n How cool is it that a team called the “Shockers” pulled off a shocker in the NCAA tournament?

That’s a bracket buster we should have predicted by mascot alone. Glad to see the Penn State women didn’t become the victim of a shocker in their opening game.

n Can a Tiger really change his stripes? It may a cliche, but one that Lindsey Vonn should remember. The world-class skier tweeted this week to confirm her relationship with legendary golfer and admitted philanderer Tiger Woods; here’s hoping she won’t be making unfortunate headlines with him in the future.

Kellie Goodman Shaffer can be reached at Her column appears on Tuesdays.