Opinion: Cloudy with a Chance of Practice

By: Jesse Zhou ’16
Staff Writer

As the cold fades away to warmth and the snow melts away to grass, something long awaited has finally returned: spring term. Along with the usual activities that occur during the final term of the year, which include dorm softball and Headmasters’ Day, one cannot forget about the multitude of sports teams. However, since this year’s weather has been quite erratic due to a good amount of snowfall during spring break and the coming and going of the very low temperatures in the following weeks. Due to the fluctuating temperatures, some teams have modified their practices in accordance with inclement weather, while others continue with normal practices. However, teams should alter practices due to weather, for the benefit of the athletes and the team itself.

In most sports, weather does not directly affect whether or not these activities can continue; rather, they affect the efficacy and reliability of practice. For instance, rowers can have practice in slightly windy and choppy conditions. However, according to Colton Karch ’14, when things get gusty and rainy, crew practice loses his purpose: “When it’s raining and windy, it’s just miserable,” Karch said. “It’s challenging, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good practice.” Karch also pointed out the fact that athletes would be much more susceptible to illness due to the combination of rain and wind.

In addition to crew, the track team also deals with this issue. Running in the freezing rain is by no means fun, especially if you cannot feel anything at the end of practice. In certain cases, this kind of weather can lead to injuries, as athletes’ muscles are stiff due to the cold. Thrower Crystal Campbell ’16 had a few thoughts on the problem: “There’s no fun in throwing if you can’t feel your hands.” With the lack of morale and efficiency on days with bad weather, the case for the changing of practices grows stronger.

Other athletes have different views regarding the subject. Danielle Rette ’14 said that changes should be made, depending on the sport: “If it’s only raining I’d say you should suck it up and tough it out.” Rette, a golfer, has played in rain and shine, and knows in order to be prepared for such circumstances during a match, one must first experience it during practice. In the case of golf, practice in light rain and cold could serve as a form of conditioning, better preparing athletes during games.

Some teams already offer alternatives to normal practice in harsh weather. The athletes of boys golf are given the option of working out in the athletic center if they feel as though the weather is too extreme.

While in some teams modifications due to weather already occur, all coaches should take into consideration the forecast when planning practices, for the sake of the athletes and for the sake of the team’s morale.