Sports latest casualty of snowbound Front Range
DENVER – There are the backaches from shoveling snow and misaligned cars from driving over ice mounds and potholes. Now the latest casualty of several weeks of heavy snow and cold along the Front Range is sports.Sports teams getting ready for Little League baseball, softball and lacrosse are used to practicing outside this time of year. But the snow-covered grounds are forcing teams to postpone or scale back tryouts or move indoors.Tim Peterson has scheduled workouts for the 9-year-olds on his Green Mountain team in a small warehouse.”I’ve had practices in parking lots before,” Peterson said. “You can be creative.”Shane Fugita’s eighth-grade Dakota Ridge Eagles work in close quarters on artificial turf and under artificial light at an inside facility in Lakewood. It’s the first time he can remember the weather being this bothersome in his 13 years of coaching.”It’s been horrible,” Fugita said. “If you’ve got a Little League team like mine, you’re really in trouble. We’ve got no gym, we can’t practice outside and the indoor facilities cost money.”Indoor workouts usually augment the preseason schedules for competitive youth teams, but this year they’re essential. Sports facilities are expanding their hours to accommodate the athletes.”Bad weather is good for us,” said Robbie Carson, general manager of Slammers Baseball & Softball in Lakewood. “A couple years ago, teams were outside in the middle of January and February. But that’s Colorado weather for you.”Prospects don’t look good for outdoor municipal facilities. In Aurora, city officials recently told five independent baseball and soccer leagues and in-house programs that use nearly 100 outdoor game and practice locations that the scheduled Feb. 19 opening isn’t likely.The snow must be fully melted before grounds crews even consider releasing the fields, so the city isn’t making any promises.Ron Benson, parks director for Douglas County, is a little more optimistic that his fields might be ready as scheduled around mid-March.”Even with this much snow, we know that in February, unless this trend continues, that the temperature will jump up, because it always does,” Benson said. “Then you get the Chinook winds, the old snow-eater, and it goes quick.”
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