“Spring” sports in the snow

Sean Christman

Early season lacrosse games have been heavily impacted by the heavy snow in the Northeast.

The first two games of the season for the Villanova Wildcats Lacrosse Team have had different results, but a common theme. In the first game, they lost 13-11 to Johns Hopkins, and in the second, they beat Penn State 11-7. While these games sound different, they were extremely similar, as they were both played in snow storms with less than ideal conditions.

While lacrosse is considered to be a “Spring Sport” by the NCAA, teams often begin practices in January, immediately after Christmas break. The first game of the season often occurs in early February, and this year was no different as High Point defeated Delaware 15-10 on February first. These frigid early season games have become the norm in college lacrosse, but while it is no issue for some, it is a huge obstacle for others.

In the NESCAC, a Division 3 conference home to teams like Amherst, Tufts, and Williams, teams have been unable to even practice, let alone have games. The massive snow hitting the northeast during this time of year has made it difficult for many schools to play. Games have been changed, postponed, and even canceled.

Nearly every game during weeks 2 and 3 of the college lacrosse season was played in the snow. The game between Hofstra and Princeton, which was played in Princeton, was played with almost 4 inches of snow on the ground. This slowed down loose balls and caused many of the players to slip and fall while playing.

Is it okay for some teams to be on their 5th game of the year while others can’t even practice? This is the question that the NCAA needs to address. Weather has inhibited the progress of the past two seasons, with teams practicing in single digit temperatures during the week and playing in snow storms on the weekend.

Some lacrosse outlets, like the blog College Crosse, and Lacrosse Magazine editor Corey McLaughlin, have been satirically posting pictures of the snow covered fields with the hashtag #SpringSport. Others, like RIT lacrosse graduate Jerry Ragonese, have taken a different stance, tweeting “Why is everyone crying about the snow? It’s always been cold the start of lax season and snow is a lot of fun to play in. Don’t tell me ‘it’s sloppy’. It is no different than a torrential downpour with no lightning. This isn’t baseball. #manup”.

This is a difficult issue to resolve. Realistically, there are not many options that make the beginning of the season fair to all involved. While calling the Hofstra-Princeton game, announcer Ryan Boyle said it best. “When you play a game in February in New Jersey, this snow is going to be what you get. We either need to accept that, or we need to be smarter and take a look at pushing our start date back”.