How the NEK Tackles Spring Sports

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spring sportsAROUND THE NEK – Unfortunately, the weather is not something that can be controlled. This takes a toll on spring sports in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Northernmost areas like the Northeast Kingdom are bound to face a spring sports season that begins indoors.

Whether it be youth, high school, or collegiate spring teams, securing of field space can be a major challenge. The lack of turf fields in the area force teams to utilize local indoor facilities like the Fenton Chester Arena in Lyndonville. Arena general manager Chris Carr says the first half of the spring season is very hectic.

"I have so many teams from different schools or youth programs trying to get even just of hour of turf time. Lately we've been trying to manage turf time for a lot of youth lacrosse and high school baseball."

The forced time practicing indoors for these spring teams pose an greater challenge, that is how these teams are able to compete with other teams across the state that see green grass and outdoor practices up to a month earlier. Saint Johnsbury Academy Athletic Director and boy's basketball coach David McGinn sees some advantages in indoor practicing.

"It's a much more controlled environment inside or in the field house. For coaches this is a good thing because it allows for up close instruction. We have been very gifted with our indoor facilities here."

Regardless of the assets that practicing indoors brings to the table for spring sport teams, everyone is very anxious to get outside and practice like they play. According to Northern Vermont University-Lyndon's Athletic Director Chris Gilmore, the business of clearing snow off a grass field is a very tedious process. Although coaches may be more understanding of the logistical planning that goes into spring sports here in the NEK, the desire to get outside as soon as possible is the same as the players.

"You know the general consensus is the same, athletes and coaches just want to get outside. Its like just get me outside, I don't care, just let me know what I can or can't do."

McGinn proves a point in saying "given our circumstances there is not much we can really do other than utilize our resources. Once we can get outside we will hit the ground running and make good on it."