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Playing In The Elements

18 January 2019 Views From The Booth Sports

Greetings From The Booth!

It’s that time of year when Old Man Winter unleashes his fury, and lot’s of the country felt plenty of that last weekend, as a Winter storm crippled the Midwest and beyond. More of that is being forecast for some of the country this weekend, and we could have an AFC Championship under conditions that would be the coldest game ever at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. More about the elements, but first a Shenandoah University basketball mid-season report card:

The Hornet women are 8-9 and 4-6 in the ODAC heading into this weekend’s play and for the most part, competitive. As you might expect from a team that’s in the league’s middle of the pack, the SU ladies have beaten the teams that they should beat, and have had some struggles against the ODAC’s upper echelon. The Hornets will be a “tough out” in the tournament, especially if they can catch a favorable first round draw and gather momentum.

The SU men have struggled in-conference, with just one ODAC win so far. I often say that the ODAC is like the D-3 version of The Big 12 Conference in football, and the ODAC is more like the Big 10 in basketball. That is to say, a physical league. And, the young Hornets are getting out-muscled. Chris Chaney has been fun to watch, and has now led the team in scoring for 8 consecutive games. Foul-shooting is a big problem for SU, and if you can’t make the free-throws (especially in a tournament game), you will find yourself in the “L” column more often than not.

Now, let’s venture back outdoors and back in time to iconic NFL venues like Metropolitan Stadium in Minnesota and Lambeau Field in Green Bay. With the topic of weather being discussed this weekend as a possible factor in the Chiefs-Patriots AFC Championship game, I thought back to those great games in the 60’s and 70’s like the famous “Ice Bowl” in Green Bay. That game between the Packers and Cowboys, was for the 1967 NFL Championship, and was played in minus-16 degree weather. Locked in our minds forever is the image of Bart Starr sneaking into the end zone behind Jerry Kramer for the game winning Green Bay score, as the frozen vapor of 51,000 fans provided an other-worldly arctic backdrop.

It always seemed like Joe Kapp and the Vikings were involved in some frozen playoff playoff game in the late 60’s-early 70’s. Snow banks were piled high around the “Met” as the old Norseman, Bud Grant, seemingly ordered up the weather room-service from Thor himself. Remember those giant torches that used to thaw the frozen turf before kickoff? Classic.

And how could we forget the 1981 AFC Championship in Cincinnati, dubbed “The Freezer Bowl”? That game was played in a -38 degree wind chill (although the outdated wind-chill formula at the time had that figure at minus-59 degrees), and rendered the high-powered San Diego offense powerless in a 27-7 Bengals win.

These are all things that are part of NFL lore, and with more emphasis on the safety & comfort of players and fans (field turf, indoor venues, etc.), we’ve lost something at playoff time. So for me, it will be a bit nostalgic to see the frozen breath coming from the helmets of the Patriots and Chiefs on Sunday in zero-degree temperatures.

Somewhere, Jerry Kramer, Joe Kapp and Bud Grant will be smiling…

Until next time from the Booth, enjoy the games and GO HORNETS!!!


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