The Secret Struggle: Spring Sports at Latin

Aidan Sarazen I know it might shock you, but the Latin School of Chicago is in Chicago. Okay, now that we’ve got that settled, it will probably surprise you even less that the timing weather-wise of spring sports can be difficult at Latin. As soon as the Winter sports play their final games, each Spring sport, whether it be water polo, tennis, track, baseball, softball, volleyball, or soccer, each begin full fledged practicing. Unfortunately, Chicago’s weather in between Winter and Spring is absolutely atrocious. One day, heavy snow will be swirling around in the air, eventually blanketing Lincoln Park (where we practice). The next day, temperatures will rise, creating puddles of melted snow and mud. Both of these conditions make it nearly impossible for teams to practice outdoors. Although Latin certainly does not come up short when it comes to the condition of its facilities, the school is simply too small for seven different sports to be forced to play indoors. Tennis and volleyball are compelled to swap hitting balls for lifting weights, while baseball and softball are forced to switch out fielding sky-high popups for suicides (sprints) in the gym. Track, rather than logging miles on the lakeshore path, can be seen sprinting through hallways and up and down stairwells. This tight spacing poses many dangers. An overcrowded weight room increases the risk of a weight being accidentally dropped. Sprints in a small gym have already given a Latin student a concussion, after he banged his head against the cement wall. A track athlete flying around the corner of a hallway could easily end in a nasty collision. I wish I could offer a solution to avoid practices indoors, but the deciding factor is the weather, which nobody has any control over. To attempt to deal with the issue of space, Latin has dispersed practice times throughout the day. Tennis practices at 6 in the morning. Softball and baseball often flip-flop for gym times, but one or the other is stuck with a later practice that ends around 8 at night. Tight spacing forces teams to practice at odd times, which leaves student athletes tired and with less time to do homework. Chris Quazzo, a member of the Latin tennis team, remarked that “it’s tough getting up for a 6 a.m. practice, but you have to be devoted to the team and sport.” Looking a couple of months into the future, Chicago should be considerably warmer. However, even without snow and raging winds, April and May tend to be quite the rainy months. Huge rainstorms accompanied by thunder and lightning will force teams indoors. Looking back on past years, it really does seem as if Latin’s Spring sports cannot catch a break with the weather. We can only hope that 2013 won’t follow the pattern of past years. All Latin athletes (and every citizen of Chicago) is holding his or her breath for a calm Spring, because unlike the Chicago Cubs, who spend their Spring in balmy Arizona, Latin teams will be staying put in Chicago. Spring athletes at Latin will have to endure Chicago’s volatile weather and stay dedicated to their sports.]]>