STEVE HANLON: Time to throw softballs and not snowballs

2014-03-13T17:00:00Z 2014-03-14T01:46:09Z STEVE HANLON: Time to throw softballs and not snowballsSteve Hanlon Prep Beat nwitimes.com
March 13, 2014 5:00 pm  • 

OK, so this is never going to happen. Still, why can't we dream?

Tradition and different climates in a corn-fed state will keep things the way they are. But boy, just the thought of a simple change makes a lot of sense to this old yellow baller.

It's the middle of March and Al Gore is still wearing leg warmers, ear muffs and an eight-inch thick cardigan. It is time to make a change in the IHSAA sport seasons.

Softball should be moved to the fall season. Volleyball should be moved to the spring season. Then, I swear, all will be right with the world.

"I think it should be done," former Andrean softball coach Russ Serrato said. "Honestly, I don't know why it wasn't that way from the beginning."

Serrato coached at Andrean for nine years, making it to state three times. Two times he was an assistant, when the 59ers won it all in 2007. Then, in 2009, as head coach Andrean was the Class 3A state runner-up.

From Broadway he went to Crown Point where he was on staff when the Bulldogs won their last sectional in 2011. The guy knows his stuff. It's amazing he isn't coaching at a local high school right now.

But Harry Reid keeps getting elected in Nevada so go figure.

"The first point is the weather, late summer and fall are perfect around here," Serrato said. "Most of the girls are coming off their summer seasons so you wouldn't need a lot of tuning up.

"It makes a heck of a lot of sense to me."

Volleyball, on the other hand, is played in hot, sticky gymnasiums in August and September. An average person starts sweating just reaching for a roster. If that game was played indoors in April and May such a thing wouldn't happen.

Start the softball season the first week of August. Play through September and start your postseason. You could have your state finals in middle October in Indy, where the weather is almost always great.

Frozen bats and girls playing softball in three layers of clothing is common in "Da Region." Wiping away snowflakes while tracking a fly ball is a regular thing. But why?

Jason Wille of the IHSAA knows our weather. He grew up in Crown Point. But he said there has never been a serious chat about changing seasons. He said the IHSAA's sports try to coincide with the college sports seasons.

There's strike one.

The other factor is that much of Indiana doesn't get the rain, snow and cold that we do. Evansville wouldn't want this. It's probably 70 there today. The Tell City softball team has already broken out the sun screen.

There's strike two and three.

Serrato also brought up the savings for maintenance crews at schools. Once this deep freeze thaws the hours of shovel and rake time is going to be gargantuan.

Baseball would be another sport better served in the autumn. But many baseball players also play football so that will never happen. Strike four.

"I also think it would generate more fans for the softball teams," Serrato said. "Who is going to go out and watch a game when it's 35 degrees? If it was 70 I think fans might go out on a nice fall afternoon to watch."

It's a great idea. It makes a ton of sense. But it will never happen.

So warm up the thermos, get out the mittens and get ready for this softball season. My guess is it will start on April 26.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at steve.hanlon@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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