The Spring thaw will be here soon, and that means the best sports

Fast-pitch softball and baseball ... they're an itch I need to scratch

Spring will be here before we know it (we all hope).
Gaylon Wm. Parker/The Dickinson Press

You feel that itch, don’t you?

You know ... like when you’ve been walking around outside for a long time and you come inside the hearth to feel a little warmth and your fingers, forearms and your thighs start to thaw under the gloves, sweatshirt and jeans? Like when you see little brown/green shoots of grass poking through the snow during 32.5-degree temps (just warm enough for the water to create a dangerous sheet of thick, ice-rink slick once the sun goes down), it helps you see the light at the end of the tunnel, doesn’t it?

Yeah, I’m talking about Spring.

Being from Florida, I see Spring on the TV while I’m watching baseball in Jupiter, or Viera or Fort Lauderdale or Bradenton. I see it in the palm trees and those pasty, white thighs on the fans as they sit in the stands and I start to salivate for warmer weather. Here, I’m getting used to how you characters approach Spring, and it appears that you perceive any subtle change in weather as an opportunity to dress down to shorts or get out the low-cut, tank-top shirts and parade around town because you know it’s coming, too. Trust me, I can see the giddiness.

It’s fun to witness the excitement. To see the snowless, empty patches of grass that will soon be occupied by chaise-lounges and people taking 30 minutes to “get a tan” … excuse me, GET A TAN!!! because tans are fun and the sun feels good on the skin.


I gotta tell you: Florida’s “Summer-Year-Round” bit ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. It’s like eating potatoes every day or watching reruns. Up here, there seems to be a lovely anticipation that takes hold of one’s mind while it waits for something that we cannot WAIT to see:

The Thaw.

I’ve heard of The Thaw, but I’ve never SEEN The Thaw. Someday (hopefully) soon, maybe I will write a column about The Thaw (fingers-crossed).

Meanwhile, in “paradise,” Florida has one season, and y’all have four. Somebody mentioned to me the other day that I got here, “During a bad part of the year,” and I responded that I got here during the best part: Spring is around the corner and that means baseball and fast-pitch softball – two of my favorite sports to cover – and I DIDN’T get here in October. That October, 2023 nonsense will come soon enough, but I will enjoy the Spring, as I can see it in the signs around me.

The one thing that HAS been tough is the waiting … I’m an impatient man when it comes to weather, only because if you don’t like the weather down home you wait 15-20 minutes and it will change FOR you. Here, it takes weeks or months for the weather to change, apparently. The other bad part is that when this part of the year rolls around, there’s nothing to do and no sports to cover for the small-town, Dickinson, North Dakota, community sportswriter. Imagine being a miner with no silver (lining); imagine being an oil-field guy with no slick; imagine staring at a TV with sports on it, but no game to cover.

It feels empty for us. But we see the light at the end of that tunnel.

Truth-be-told, we appreciate y’all sticking with us this time of year; you still read the sports-page and you still have your lives to live, but you also are champing at the bit for more Spring sports. So are we, too, and as I watch the NCAA tournament wend its way through the upsets and the television coverage, just know that in our hearts exists a desire for the 7th-inning drama of a high-school or college game, that home-run that changes the dynamic and that perfect pitch that comes from a performance on the mound that we can’t wait to chronicle.

It’s coming … and the grass is never greener than on the other side of that hill (or mound, whichever side is warmest).


This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Dickinson Press, nor Forum ownership.

Opinion by Gaylon Wm. Parker
Gaylon is a sportswriter from Jensen Beach, Fla., but has lived all over the world. Growing up with an athletic background gave him a love of sports that led to a journalism career in such places as Enid, Okla., Alamogordo, N.M., Pascagoula, Miss. and Viera, Fla. since 1998. His main passion is small-town community sports, particularly baseball and soccer.
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