Sports fans have to endure a lot with Ohio weather

One thing I love about living in Ohio is that we get to taste just about every dish Mother Nature has in her cookbook. My beautiful bride, on the other hand, would fly south in a heartbeat for a monotonous menu of hot, sweet sunshine.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature’s Spring 2022 fashion show looked more like a winter clearance rack.

So here’s the countdown to the crap weather every sports fan has to endure in the Buckeye State.

10. BLADE LIGHT I’ve sat in many dimly lit gyms with the occasional flickering fluorescent light mixed in. It makes me feel like a pasty Neo (Keanu Reeves) outside of The Matrix.

9. SAUNA IN THE SUN You may have forgotten, but Ohio can actually get very hot and humid during the summer. When your 9-year-old team is into their third baseball game of the day at 4 p.m. in a sweltering 93-degree oven, your outfielders will be moving like the zombie version of Manny Ramirez. Thank goodness for the pop-up tents!

8. SUMMER SWITCH Sixty-two degrees in April feels like the Bahamas. Sixty-two degrees in August is like Alaska, especially when you’re caught off guard in your shorts and tank top. Here’s an important word of wisdom for young athletes and coaches: When in doubt, overdress. You can always take the layers off.

7. GETTING ATTACKED Visiting my sons in their dorms reminded me of another technological pleasure that made our youth sweet and spoiled: air conditioning. Old farts like me grew up in stuffy bedrooms, classrooms, and dorms where, if you were lucky, you had a fan to blow the hot air out. While most schools now have newer, air-conditioned gyms, there are still a few “Boston Garden” sweat boxes dotted around the Tuscarawas Valley, highlighted by Dover’s famous Memorial Hall (which once hosted the countywide basketball tournament). You could lather up in these “hot houses,” whether at a steamy summer basketball camp or in a sweltering gym for a big hoops game on Friday night. Our only oasis was a usual pair of side-by-side water fountains, usually plagued with “low flow” or lukewarm water.

6. CHLORINE CLIMATE From my conversations with swimming parents—as well as my childhood memories of swimming lessons at the YMCA—I imagine that spending an entire day at an indoor pool competition will clear your sinuses for at least a month. I wonder if Brenda Wherley, recently retired swimming coaching legend from Dover, still has a sense of smell after many decades of inhaling pool chemical fumes.

5. MAKE DEW? Morning practices and games in the spring and fall are almost always accompanied by dewy grass. Footballs get slippery, baseballs get waterlogged, and feet get soaked. Coaching football twice a day, I quickly learned from a veteran coach to bring a spare pair of socks to wear for the second session. Luckily for today’s grill guys, there isn’t much dew on the artificial turf.

4. FALL FLUCTUATION One thing I remember playing and coaching JV football, it could be 41 degrees when you get on the bus at 8am on a Saturday morning in October and then 81 degrees when the game ended at noon. So you freeze lying in the freezing dew for team stretches, then take off your soaked sweatshirt at halftime.

3. ANDRE THORNTON My favorite childhood Indian slugger’s nickname was “Thunder,” which is followed by a lightning bolt, which puts an immediate “pause” on any outdoor game.

2. COLD AND SNOW In my old age, I became a fan of sunny days. Literally. On a chilly fall Friday night, some players wear short sleeves, some coaches stay in shorts, and some student sections bare their bellies. I, on the other hand, go to bed like little brother Randy in “A Christmas Story.” Also, when playing in the cold, getting tackled hurts more, every ball is harder to throw and catch, any at-bat has the potential to turn into a handful of stinging bees if you get stuck at inside. And scientific studies have proven that the sideline and the losing stands are exactly 11 degrees colder than the winning team.

1. COLD AND RAINY Hot chocolate and coffee can warm you up. But I haven’t yet found a drink that can dry you out. Thirty-eight degrees in the rain is as bad as being served a birthday meal of liver, canned spinach and black licorice. As fans, we can use umbrellas and ponchos to try to minimize the damage. But standing on or between a sideline, there is little room to escape. Footballers have a helmet to hide under. These poor cross-country and track and field athletes are soaked to the bone!

Hopefully all those April 2022 showers will bring sunny May flowers!

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