How Cold is Too Cold? Spring Sports Return…in Winter

Image+of+Sabrina+Hayes+%2722+in+a+game+last+year.

Image of Sabrina Hayes ’22 in a game last year.

Who would have thought that prepping for a field hockey game would include shoveling snow? Lo and behold, this situation is what the 2021 spring sports season entails. Latin’s field hockey and soccer seasons, which usually take place in the early days of fall, are now set to start March 1, or, in other words, toward the end of winter in Chicago. Spring sports spectators will have to exchange light jackets for winter coats this season.
Latin’s field hockey and soccer teams conducted 20 contact days of off-season training in September and October to practice for the March season. Now that the official season is about to begin, COVID restrictions limiting the number of people allowed to train indoors have forced the teams to choose between practicing indoors without the full team and braving the elements to include all team members.
Varsity field hockey head coach Mackenzie Mick offered insight into the benefits of practicing outdoors. “My hope is that we get to practice outside as much as possible,” she said, “as I do think it is advantageous over practicing indoors. On the turf, we are able to have a more realistic practice tailored to our sport.” When asked about the less-than-ideal weather conditions, she said, “I would much rather practice outside on the turf than indoors, but I also want everyone to be safe. Cold weather can precipitate injuries, and we definitely don’t want that.” On the other hand, practicing indoors also poses its own risks, including COVID exposure due to potentially poor air filtration and close contact with teammates.
Senior Colin Campbell, the varsity boys soccer captain, also offered his opinions about the difficulties the weather poses to effective training in the upcoming season. “Regarding the quality of training, I think there will be some difference [compared to past seasons] due to the snow. That being said, every team we’re going to play this spring has the same issue we do.”
Field hockey captain Maya Gray shared Colin’s opinions about the weather increasing the difficulty of practices. She said, “I think the weather will definitely make it harder to play, especially with the masks, but we’ll push through it together.”
Another way the frigid temperatures will impact the season is wardrobe. Sophomore Anna Hynes said, “Typically, the first practice is during preseason in August, so I wear shorts and a tank top and practically drown myself in water to stay cool. Now, I expect to wear leggings, sweatpants, a long-sleeved shirt, a sweatshirt, a coat, a hat, gloves, and even some hand warmers!”
This will undoubtedly be a soccer and field hockey season to remember. Many athletes will remember it fondly as a reunion with their teammates, a long-awaited return to sports, or a glimmer of normalcy. Or, it may be seared into athletes’ memories as the season when the arsenal of sports equipment expanded to include a snow shovel.