A brief conversation from a favorite television series from years gone by went like this:
Character one: “Pitchers and catchers report next week” as the interchange took place in the freezing cold of our nation’s capital.
Character two: “What are we doing here….”
The banter between the two characters on that TV show has always remained with me. Recent days have been a solid reminder as to why.
In the state of Georgia, high school athletics have now ushered in “spring” sports for 2020. Yet on Feb. 8 we had more than an inch of snow fall in the neck of the woods I live in. The previous night I watched two high school soccer matches in temperatures fit more for the Winter Olympics rather than something associated with spring.
The temperature at the start of the first soccer game, in which there was still daylight, hovered in the 30s. And make no mistake it was a bone-chilling cold. In the few minutes I ventured from the press box to the field to obtain quotes for the articles I would write, it didn’t take long for the cold air to cut right through me.
The new high school baseball season has started for many schools yet anyone who follows the sports knows how at least the first month of the season will go. There will be multiple rainouts and even when the rain is not falling there will be days when surviving the bitter cold will be too much of a task.
A local baseball scrimmage this past Saturday was snowed out.
A few years ago while at an early high school baseball season game I had on three layers of clothes, gloves, a hat and the thickest coat I own. By the end of the second inning, I had endured all I could.
It’s the only time I have left a game I was covering because of the cold. I honestly don’t remember ever being colder in my life. Even during late season high school football games, which begin under darkness, I had never experienced anything like that afternoon at the local baseball field.
The crazy thing about this time of the year in Georgia is we can literally go from one extreme to the next in less than a week’s time. For example, on Monday, Feb. 3, it was sunny and in the mid-70s. On Thursday, Feb. 6, it was still warm but with about three inches of rain. On Friday, Feb. 7, the high was in the 30s. On Saturday, Feb. 8, it snowed.
The bipolar nature of the weather in February in Georgia is not something to be admired.
RETURN OF THE XFL
The new incarnation of the XFL saw its debut this past weekend. Two games were offered on Saturday and another pair on Sunday.
It’s hard to believe it has been almost two decades since the XFL first arrived in our football vocabulary. The league lasted one year that time but all indications are this is a new XFL, similar in name only to the original version.
The relaunched version is not looking to compete with the National Football League. That would be a mistake for any new league. Instead the 2020 version of the XFL exists to help players get back to the NFL. For a few players, it’s simply about having a chance to extend their careers a little longer.
There has always been plenty of football talent for another professional league in this country. The main problems other leagues have faced include poor leadership by management and team owners.
For true football fans, there will always be a place for live action during February, March and April. The new XFL has plenty of coaching names many fans will recognize, three of which have ties to the Atlanta Falcons.
One-time Atlanta Falcon player, offensive coordinator and head coach June Jones is leading the XFL Houston team while former Falcon quarterback Chris Miller is the offensive coordinator. Houston was very impressive in its season opener.
Former Atlanta Falcon defensive guru and later head coach Jerry Glanvlle is coordinating the defense for the Tampa Bay Vipers in the new XFL. The Vipers, expected to be one of the top teams in the league, were defeated in their season opener.
Other coaches in the 2020 XFL include Jim Zorn, Norm Chow, Bob Stoops, Hal Mumme and Kevin Gilbride. These are all names most pro and college football fans recognize.
Dallas, the preseason league favorite, was upset in its season opener to St. Louis.
The only issue I had with the broadcast was the constant interviews with coaches and players during the games. It’s distracting to both the viewers as well as the person being interviewed. No head coach wants to be interviewed while the game is in progress. It’s the same for players really.
Here’s hoping the XFL can make a go of it and give all die-hard fans what they dream of: actual football games during the time that is typically a very long offseason.