Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The thermometer outside threatens to dip below 20F, and the clear skies belie cold gusts that slap at the UW students' faces as they walk to class. Although spring is technically three weeks away, its warm temperatures and tree blossoms don't seem any closer now than they did a month ago.

Still, the impending arrival of several cairns signal that spring is in fact rapidly approaching. Daylight savings time is 10 days away. Our sectional tourney, and the college series for everyone, begins in little over a month. And in  two days, we board a plane for SFO and the Stanford Invite.

As I mentioned before, with Lent starting so late this year our annual pilgrimage to Mardi Gras fatefully conflicted with the Stanford Invite. We made the difficult choice of foregoing a geographically closer tournament to play against west coast teams we won't see otherwise until, if all goes well, Memorial Day weekend in Boulder. But this has shortened our pre-series schedule by one tournament, not insubstantial,  making each game more important to our development.

Compounding this, last night was our final indoor practice of the season in the McClain Center. Last year, the women's rugby club dropped a serious ball and missed the deadline for reserving space and time indoors. Their loss was all other club sport teams' gain, and even late in the season where we and several other teams gave them some of our indoor sessions, we had plenty of opportunities to meet. Needless to say, the rugby team didn't make the same mistake again and that, along with a reduction the the number of total dates available to all teams, meant that we had only 4 total sessions indoors. The end of our indoor practices came so suddenly that Feldman and Cullen didn't realize the significance of it being their last indoor practice ever until midway through last night. Cullen worked accordingly, scoring and spiking goal after goal and, at practice's end, spending a few wistful moments reflecting on 5 years of Hodag service before checking back into reality and realizing that he had to get home, at 12:45am, to do some homework.

We can't well spend the time between Stanford and the arrival of warm weather waiting for opportunities to throw outside, so in Wisconsin winter spirit we have to make them. So take some gloves, some Patagonia gear, and 20 minutes outdoors before the cold makes the Ultrastar's plastic so stiff and brittle it could shatter from an dropped pass, and you've got yourself a 'Sconny throwing sesh. We're not a pretty team, but the college series ain't a beauty pageant.

Follow the Stanford Invite here, and check the Hodag twitter feed for frequent updates (or my feed for infrequent but typically wittier quips). See you in California.


Ariel Jackson said...

I've been wondering recently why these aren't used by cold weather teams (i.e. ~90% of college teams). I only wish I had this idea when I was playing at Rutgers... I don't think they'll do me much good in California.