Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Spring Ahead

Snow? Again? Are you kidding? Didn't we all just finish digging out around here?

According to accuweather.com, the Princeton area could be in for 12-18 inches of snow beginning tonight. Another forecast says 10 inches. Either way, this comes on the heels of the 10 inches that fell over the weekend.

TigerBlog read another story that this coming storm could end up breaking the record for total snowfall for one winter in much of the Mid-Atlantic region.

Amazingly, this record could fall with basically only three snow events, plus two other times of minor accumulations. The average annual snowfall in the Trenton-Princeton area is 23.4 inches; the record is 76.9 from the winter of 1995-96.

This winter, before the first flake begins to fall later, the area has received, well, a lot of snow. TB hasn't exactly been able to find a site to give him the total for the winter, but it's clearly snowed a considerable amount, especially after last year saw almost no snow.

And on the days when it hasn't been snowing, it's certainly been cold. All in all, it's not TB's kind of winter.

Maybe last summer was a giveaway that we were in trouble. It rarely was oppressively hot and humid, and it rained more than normal. At least that's the way TB remembers it.

Either way, winter isn't quite ready to let go. As the one accuweather story said:
"Snowfall from the next storm Tuesday into Wednesday could make the 2009-2010 winter season the snowiest ever for many mid-Atlantic cities. If not, there is plenty of winter left to make that happen."

Well, not so fast there, winter. Spring, in some ways, is already here.

For starters, the college lacrosse season started last weekend. Yes, last weekend. The big game in Division I men was North Carolina's 11-5 win over Jacksonville in the Dolphins' first game ever. The Tar Heels, a legitimate national championship contender (Princeton is at Chapel Hill March 16), led only 5-3 at the half in front of nearly 5,000 in Florida.

There are seven more games in Division I men's lacrosse this coming weekend (in places like Connecticut, Columbus, Philadelphia and Annapolis, which was buried under nearly three feet of snow last weekend), and the following weekend sees even more teams get underway. The big game for that weekend is, unquestionably, the opening game for two-time defending NCAA champ Syracuse, who hosts Denver in Bill Tierney's debut with the Pioneers.

Northwestern, the defending women's champ (actually five-time defending champ), opened with an 18-6 win over UMass in San Diego last weekend.

Princeton's men and women both open on Feb. 27, with the women at Johns Hopkins and the men at home against Hofstra. That would be a little over two weeks away.

There was a time when basketball season didn't start until Dec. 1 and lacrosse didn't start until March 1, but those days are long gone. To be honest, TigerBlog sees the advantage in starting practice earlier but doesn't really see the need to extend the season into early February for lacrosse. It turns the schedule into a nearly four-month grind for a team that plays deep into the NCAA tournament, and that's when you want to be at your best, not showing wear-and-tear.

On the other hand, with the way the schedule works for teams in leagues, those early games are huge. Princeton, for instance, defeated Johns Hopkins and UMBC early last season, a pair of Top 10 wins that essentially wrapped up an NCAA tournament spot for the Tigers by the first week of March.

Lacrosse is hardly the only spring sport. Baseball and softball? Their openers are one week later, both on the road (baseball in North Carolina; softball in Maryland). Both teams will play in ACC country and in California before playing in the Northeast.

Tennis season has already started. Golf and rowing have a ways to go until they get underway, and track and field needs to finish up indoors before moving outdoors.

And, let's not forget that there are huge winter events still to come, including big games for men's and women's basketball this weekend alone.

Still, we're closing in on our second overlap season, this one involving the 29 teams who play in either the winter or the spring.

Yes, spring sports have started, even if spring isn't exactly on the immediate horizon. Hey, it's a little more than two weeks until the opening face-off for lacrosse at Princeton.

That should be of great comfort to TigerBlog as he's shoveling tomorrow.

1 comment:

Home in the Great Garden State said...

I've lived in NJ (33 years) my whole life (currently in south Jersey) and this is the most snow I recall ever seeing. Though I don't believe its the worst winter as there was one back in the 90s where we had some terrible icy conditions.