By BOB TUROSZ
NORTH READING — After the winter we’ve just gone through and the poor excuse for a spring that has followed, no one wants to be out on the playing fields more than the North Reading High School spring athletes, their coaches and fans.
But that return will be delayed for some sports because of field conditions, as common sense and a look out the window should make clear to everyone.
The boys and girls tennis teams are in a good situation, Athletic Director Dave Johnson told the Transcript. The teams are playing their home matches indoors once again this year, at the Northeast Tennis Center this season and practices have been held regularly and their regular season should get underway on schedule.
The NRHS Arthur Kenney turf field has been cleared, finally, by Mother Nature, which augurs well for the schedules of the boys and girls lacrosse teams that play there. The condition of the high school track will depend largely on the five day weather forecast, Johnson said. The last time he examined the track there was still some thin ice in a few locations, but nothing four or five days of sunshine won’t cure.
Boys baseball and girls softball will both be tricky calls and their fans should expect a lot of changes in their schedules, especially early in the season. “We just can’t tell,” with these two sports, Johnson said. Not only must the snow fully retreat from the softball and baseball fields but then they must thaw and drain. “We’re just playing it by ear, taking one block of games at a time,” he explained.
The boys are supposed to open their season at home against Newburyport on April 4 and that game has already been postponed until the Tuesday after Memorial Day. The girls were supposed to open yesterday (April 1) in Reading, but that didn’t happen either.
As the Transcript reported last week, the MIAA has already recognized the situation and voted to extend by one week the spring cutoff dates for tournament qualification due to this winter’s record snowfall. (North Reading recorded a total of 103.5 inches)
“This being New England, the temperatures will probably go from 40 to 60 degrees in the space of a couple of days. That’s what we need, and when it happens, we’re ready to mobilize,” Johnson said.