In sports and in snow, rooting should be a cautious art |

In sports and in snow, rooting should be a cautious art

It’s a long season. Baseball players will tell you that, hockey players will tell you that and skiers will tell you that.

What they mean is to not get too excited about early season success, because a lot can change by the time it starts to really matter.

It’s good advice for local skiers this week. The first legitimate snowflakes of the season have fallen, and the high north faces seem to be holding their snow. It stirs the soul, sure, but you need to be cautious about seeing it as an omen of a big winter.

It’s like looking at the Colorado Avalanche’s 1-4 preseason start and fearing they are going to finish in last place. We all know that’s not happening. And we all should know that early October snow doesn’t mean deep bases in March.

Actually, rooting for the weather is a lot like rooting for a sports team. Forecasts become box scores, the Weather Channel becomes ESPN.

Like with the Avalanche, there will be good weeks and bad this winter. Hardpack and powder. Wins and losses.

But you can’t live and die with every game. Especially in an 82-game season like the NHL’s. This applies to the snow season, too. We have eight months of winter around here. Even great snow through December can lead to a dry January, February and March and ultimately a poor snow year.

Or didn’t you see what happened to the Boston Red Sox this season? Their 40-17 record through early June was like a seven-foot dump right before Christmas. Then the Sox went .500 the rest of the way and the playoffs went on without them. The drought continues.

Then – staying in Boston (what, I grew up there) – you look at last year’s Patriots. Their 1-3 start amounted to skiing man-made snow through December. Then they go 11-5, winning their last 11 games including the Super Bowl, and everyone from Bangor to Providence is revelling in face-shots.

If the metaphor holds, Summit County is coming off a last-place finish in 2001-02. It was a horrible season, one of the worst on record. Our team didn’t show an ounce of heart or persistence, and we paid for it all summer.

This preseason success is nice, but I won’t believe we’ve turned things around until the regular season starts in November. Each storm is a win, but it takes the accumulated effect of many wins to have a successful season.

We just have to take it one storm at a time.

One thing about being a fan: You can root all you want. You can thank the gods, curse the fates and shout at the TV. But when it comes down to it, none of it will make any difference.

Both the weather and your favorite team will do what it will, and you, the fan, can do nothing about it.

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