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A Stony Brook Spring

February 24, 2015

Baseball scoreboard

It’s been a long, cold winter so far and there does not appear to be an end in sight.

Over 55 inches of snow has fallen this season, roughly 10 inches more than the last two winters combined. My faith in the existence of grass is on shaky (and frozen) ground. We are currently persevering through one of the coldest Februaries on record, mired in a cold front that has plunged us some twenty degrees below the seasonal average for over a week. Wind chills have placed the temperature below zero on more occasions than I care to recall. At this time of the year it is hard to imagine that spring will ever make it to Stony Brook, NY as it crawls slowly north, when the biting cold will give way to the warmth of a May afternoon and the sound of the howling wind will be replaced with the sharp retort of a starter’s pistol.

On a day like today (it is currently 13 degrees outside) it is helpful to have a reminder that spring indeed is coming and hope is not lost. As Shelley once wrote, “If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?” Here is glimmer of what is to come from Rod Jurgens in the April, 1946 edition of The Blue and White.

A Stony Brook Spring

Tell me, my friend, exactly what you’d expect to see on a lovely spring day, or–better yet–let me guess. Why, you might see acres of green grass, dotted here and there with budding trees. Your whole panorama seems to sway gently back and forth in time with a soft, warm breeze that wafts the scent of spring to your eager (and big) nose. You and your lovely vista seem to be under an inverted bowl of blue sky, spotted here and there with the gleaming white of stray clouds.

Down on the athletic field, the various squads are methodically working out. The energetic track team (with Gus Palmer a lap behind) plod around the cinder oval. Over on the baseball diamond, there are occasional flurries of frenzied activities as a perspiring pitcher does his level best to retire an aspiring hitter. Invariably, the pitcher makes with the Brooklynese (Ah, drop dead!) as the batter clouts a solid line drive. The hitter slides into second like nobody’s business, closely followed by a thick cloud of dust. The coach beats feet out to second and gives a three minute lecture on sliding to the weary runner, while the baseman is not too briefly instructed on how to tag a man out, and then the pitcher is shown how to throw a fast ball with lots of break in it.

But what’s the use of all this, there’s still two periods before school will be out, and it’s raining canines and felines (That’s a joke, son. A joke, that is!) Ah spring, it’s wonderful, but the weather isn’t. Who knows, maybe tomorrow the sun will be out. If it is, then we’re all set.

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