Signposts Of Spring
Greetings from The Booth!
As I prepare to close the Booth for my annual February one-week hiatus next week (I hesitate to call it a vacation because of the lengthy “honey-do” list), the transition from Winter sports to Spring sports is in progress. Shenandoah University starts it’s baseball season on Sunday, as Kevin Anderson’s Hornet juggernaut goes for another ODAC title.
There is still business to take care of on the hardwoods, though. The SU women are still in contention for a regular-season league championship after a big win this week at Bridgewater. The gals are 15-7 overall and 11-4 on the ODAC, and have established themselves as one of the top teams in the conference.
But the signposts of Spring are everywhere. Because of our milder Winter, buds have appeared on the trees, forsythia have bloomed, and landscapers were seen this week putting mulch down at the Winchester Medical Campus. Not to mention the emergence of joggers and walkers all over the area, signalling our first “Pasty White Skin Alerts” of the year.
On the sports landscape, one of my signposts of Spring is the annual Great American Race, The Daytona 500, which runs this Sunday afternoon in Florida. I’ve never been a huge NASCAR fan, but I did follow the sport more closely in the 80’s and 90’s, when names like Gordon, Earnhardt, and Stewart were regularly taking the checkered flag. I’m not sure I could name you 3 race drivers now.
But I will watch on Sunday. It is a spectacle, a cacophony of sound, speed, and color like no other. It is the one NASCAR event I will tune into each season. And as I’ve said before, the sight of palm trees and fans in t-shirts lets me know that Spring is just around the corner.
And this week, pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training sites all around Major League baseball. Isn’t it interesting that the Washington Nationals and the team they beat in the World Series, the disgraced Houston Astros, share the same practice facility in Florida? And isn’t it equally interesting that the Nats’ former skipper, Dusty Baker, is the new Astros manager? If you’re looking for some potentially uncomfortable proximity, look no further than the Ballpark Of The Palm Beaches.
It’s going to be an interesting year for MLB. The Astros sign-stealing scandal has cast a pall of distrust over the sport. Baseball has been damaged, and it’s probably going to take years of repair to regain the trust of the fans, who are now skeptical about the purity of the “Grand Old Game.”
But with Spring comes renewal, and the long healing process will begin once we hear the crack of the bat, the sound of cowhide popping into leather, and umpires yelling “Steee-rike One!”. There is no game like baseball. It has survived wars, scandals, steroids, and work stoppages, and it will survive yet again.
Can you feel it? It’s almost Spring…
Until the next visit from the Booth…GO HORNETS!