At 6:30 Monday morning, John Jay baseball coach Geoff Curtis, much-needed coffee in hand, was in mid-afternoon form.
John Jay senior righty Scott Michaels was warming up in the school gym.
“A little early for me,” Michaels said of the hour, noting he’d risen at 5:30.
“I hear that, Scott,” Curtis bellowed from afar.
“I got right up this morning. I was so excited to be here,” Michaels jokingly countered.
Truth be told, players across the area did seem excited to begin spring sports practice Monday, even though with the snow cover, most teams were forced indoors.
Prolonged cold and snow have created multiple questions.
Yes, the weekend thermometer warmed, as did Monday’s. But snow is possible this week.
So when will it all be gone, along with what Greeley athletic director Pete Kuczma estimates as a base of 1-to-2 inches of ice?
When will teams be able to use artificial turf fields?
And how will clay baseball and softball diamonds defrost with a much deeper-than-normal frost line?
Then throw in some tougher questions: Will early spring games have to be rescheduled, with teams forced to play many times weekly?
Could games be scratched?
“It’s a big unknown,” Curtis said. “It could be devastating on the schedule.”
“The diamond sports may not get outside until April,” John Jay athletic director Chris McCarthy said.
“It’s a nightmare,” McCarthy said of juggling practices among morning, afternoon and evening time slots in the high school and two smaller middle school gyms.
Mudless, artificial turf fields, usually a spring salvation, are currently unusable.
“The ice is adhered to the turf. If you cut the ice, you cut the turf,” McCarthy said.
AD Dean Berardo said Brewster won’t risk jeopardizing its $3 million turf investment by trying to plow.
No one really wants to talk about grass and clay baseball and softball fields, where drainage is a huge issue with the ground so frozen.
Kuczma speculated it might be mid-April before the fields are usable.
“It’s going to be mud – almost like jello,” McCarthy said.
Curtis recalled a similar situation about 11 years ago. He and his team tried to roll and roll snow into giant snowballs to get it off one field.
“We didn’t get very far,” he said.
At Nanuet, the boys lacrosse team utilized both middle school gyms and blacktop Monday.
“It’s tough to do. We try to incorporate basic skills the best we can,” coach Jay Whalen said.
Greeley and Somers are two track and field teams that use soft-shelled shot puts and rubber discuses for inside throwing.
Pole vaulters, though, are out of luck.
“There’s only so much you can do in the gym,” Kuczma said.
At John Jay, where wrestling and high jump mats are being used for sliding and diving, Curtis said his plan was to keep things fun and interesting.
“You can go a little stir crazy (inside),” he said.
Somers girls lacrosse coach Jaime Irving is “rolling with the punches,” crossing her fingers that it rains rather than snows this week.
Eventually, everyone’s sure, there will be outside play. It’s just a matter of when.
“We’ll get by,” Brewster softball coach Lisa Delzio said, recalling, “We’ve started the season where our first time outside was our first game.”
Get practice notes on our spring sports blogs:
Boys lacrosse: boyslacrosse.lohudblogs.com
Girls lacrosse: girlslacrosse.lohudblogs.com