It appears we have a bit of a problem. As has been noted to me by nearly every person I've met in public in the last month, the snow is not going away.
Baseball season has started, taxes are paid, the daylight hours extend well past 8 p.m., but the snow remains.
In order to preserve what remains of the already-brief Copper Country 'spring' sports season, I have devised a few alternate plans in hopes they will be ratified by the Michigan High School Athletic Association in short order. That is, of course, if the MHSAA staff is not outside sunning itself because it's going to be in the low 70's down there today.
1. Track and field and snow and ice
The U.P. Finals are at Kingsford on June 1. If you're scoring at home, that's six weeks from Saturday. The most optimistic projection for a local outdoor track meet appears to be the first full week of May. Granted, there are no plays to run, but asking local athletes to go from park to high gear in a month may be too much to ask.
Therefore, I propose one of the following alternatives: First, we could just convert all of the running races to snowshoeing races. Well, except for the hurdles, that could get bad.
Since we already have an oval and the necessary temperatures, we could also flood the tracks and stage some long-track speed skating. What's the worst that could happen, other than a few wipeouts and skate blade cuts?
2. Two words: Varsity. Dodgeball.
This is a practical and cost-effective solution. Minimal uniforms and equipment are needed. Facilities are in place, since all one needs is a gym or a large room. Gender equity can be maintained, either through co-ed competition (groundbreaking!) or boys' and girls' competition.
I would gladly cover some high school dodgeball or even serve as Copper Country High School Dodgeball Chancellor. Television rights could be sold to ESPN8, the Ocho, as a fundraising vehicle.
Let me just check with Chuck Norris to see if we can get a schedule approved.
3. Gym Football
If liability or logistics concerns preclude our doing dodgeball as a varsity sport, may I suggest bringing the joy and grittiness of high school football to a more intimate setting? The ice is or will be out of our local arenas, which could serve as an excellent venue, but why not go 7-on-7 inside a gym?
Of course, this being the U.P., teams will still run the ball 80 percent of the time, thus lessening the chance of full-speed collisions with concrete walls and people to every other play.
4. Wii Golf
In what now must only be interpreted as a vindictive act on the part of Mother Nature, guess what course is scheduled to host the U.P. Division 1 finals May 29?
Portage Lake Golf Course.
I trust Mark Maroste and the staff at PLGC will do everything in their power to make the event happen, but it's probably good to have a backup plan in place.
We'll take the event to Houghton High School, provided we can scare up enough of the nunchuck controllers from the students. I doubt this will be an issue.
Besides, just think of how the participants can brag of contesting their prestigious season-ending championship at Augusta National.
I'll even add the tinkly piano music and hushed commentary and I promise to call all the parents in attendance 'patrons.'
For that matter, why don't we contest championships in stuff like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Madden football?
Sure, video games aren't 'real' sports, but until I figure out a way to score snow shoveling, it might be all I get to see for a while.
Brandon Veale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/redveale.