Man in the Stands: Spring is here
Updated 12:03 am, Friday, April 15, 2011
Believe it or not, the scholastic spring sports season is here.
Based on the weather, one could reasonably surmise that it's late fall or early winter because for the most part, it sure doesn't feel like spring out here. But with every varsity sports from Staples and Weston already having at least one game or match under their collective belts, the spring sports season is definitely here.
What makes it so eerie is that it's the last of the three high school sports seasons and it doesn't seem so long ago that the school year began. In ways, the uneven fall season and happy winter season where I felt a new lease on life (at least from Dec. 11 to Feb. 18) seem like it happened a long time ago and that they were in a different time period even though I remember many things about them vividly.
The spring season is different than the other two because it's the busiest season with the most varsity sports taking place and all of them occurring within a condensed time period. It's similar to a sprint because it's over before you know it, which means if you can't get into it right away, it will be almost impossible to get into it. Conversely, the winter is the longest season and is like a marathon in that you need endurance to get through it, which is one of many reasons why I like the winter sports season (not the weather, the sports season).
With the spring having many sports, covering every game of every varsity team (or every game of just one varsity team) isn't feasible. One reason is space and in the event when a two or more games take place between publication issues, it's not plausible because the earlier game becomes untimely and stale.
Although we can't get every game covered in depth in print, we can still cover the team by posting results and highlights on the Internet, which is the beauty of modernity. Coaches are encouraged to e-mail me all results and highlights to email@example.com and except for Passover week, which is my vacation, I'll make a concerted effort to post it online.
Making the spring even more challenging is that it takes place with the typical end-of-the-year distractions going on, from planning for the prom and other events and parties pertaining to graduation, thus everyone is running in many different directions.
This spring is different than past ones because two stalwarts who coached Staples teams for at least 10 years have stepped down. Not seeing Bruce Betts coach Staples boys volleyball seems a bit unusual because he was the face of the program and the one who was responsible for its successful run of eight straight FCIAC titles and eight state titles in nine years.
Betts' retirement is a surprise because when he stepped down following the girls volleyball team's Fall of 2009 season, it was understood he'd coach the boys for at least a couple of more school years before stepping down entirely. Evidently, he changed his mind which is understandable. Everyone is entitled to change their mind from time to time and chances are, he had a legitimate reason to do so.
Another change that left a void on North Avenue is Lady Wreckers tennis coach Casey Marinuzzi (formerly DeVita) stepping down. Marinuzzi stepped down because she just gave birth to a baby boy Wednesday night, thus the rigors of coaching wasn't feasible for her this spring.
During her tenure as coach, Marinuzzi was my favorite coach I've dealt with because of how she carries herself and exudes class on and off the court, which carries down to her players.
One difference between her and Betts is that I won't be surprised if Marinuzzi returns to coaching, possibly as early as next year. I'm not insinuating that the plan is for her to return but with her child being 1 next April, it's plausible she'll be back on the sidelines.
If she doesn't come back next spring or in 2013, I'm sure she will eventually come back.
In that event, everyone would welcome her return with open arms because of her knowledge of tennis but moreover, because of who she is and how she interacts with everyone.
So far, the feeling of the spring is more parallel to the downer mood of the fall than the good cheer of winter. Many of the problems could be planetary where things just happen and our timing is off. The weather is also making a difference because everyone expects a nicer climate at this time of year and this more-than-normal amount of rains and below-normal temperatures make a difference.
The spring may not have my favorite sport (basketball) and the charm it comes with -- the winter sports season -- but it has an upside between lacrosse, tennis, The Sportsmen of Westport's annual Dinner of Champions and the Staples Scholar-Athlete banquet. Another upside of the spring is warmer weather and once we get that -- coupled with some other lucky bounces -- the season could take a major turn for the better.
Enjoy the ride of the new season -- turbulence and all -- because one way or another -- it promises to be an exciting one.