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Schools of Thought: Spring ahead, soon

March 2, 2009
By Bill Cain, The Leader-Herald

Spring practice officially starts today and I can't help feeling like I'm missing out a little bit while I'm still cooped up inside.

Don't get me wrong, it's been a great time covering our winter teams this postseason and it'll be fun seeing who keeps going. When we've got a basketball team in the semis or finals or farther on, there's no place I'd rather be than courtside.

There are still plenty of compelling storylines to follow with the ever-shortening winter season.

Gloversville's boys have a possible title match-up with Scotia-Glenville, and I'm sure they'd love the chance to get back at the Tartans for handing them their only two losses of the season. If you're going to beat a team just once out of three times, there is no better time than in an elimination setting. Send 'em home.

The Johnstown girls have to get past fellow Foothills Council competitor Hudson Falls, with which they split in the regular season. Both teams know what to expect, how to beat the other. If the Lady Bills make it to the finals, they will likely have a shot at proving they deserved the No. 1 seed by taking on Watervliet, who should be able to get past an upstart No. 12 Mechanicville.

The Fonda-Fultonville boys have to take on last year's runner-up and local rival, B-P, in a semifinal. The Canajoharie boys and girls are moving through the Class C brackets showing everyone how strong the Western Athletic Conference's South Division made them this season.

Still, the impending thaw is drawing my attention away a little more every day. It's a good thing they don't have windows in our portion of the newsroom or I'd be sitting at my desk watching the grass grow.

I'm the guy who gets up at 3 a.m. to watch a baseball game in Japan if that's where the season opener is being played, even if I don't have a rooting interest in either team. I've already felt the sting of a loss in college lacrosse, with top-ranked Syracuse University dropping a one-goal game to No. 2 Virginia.

There's no sports season like the spring.

How will Johnstown's lacrosse team do without Kevin Hunt? That's not a slight against the players who remain or the ones who graduated with and before Hunt, but come on. The guy did a lot on the field for the Sir Bills and now we get to see who will step up next.

The Gloversville softball team starts the season with a new coach, it's third in 12 months. Will she be able to provide some stability? She is fortunate enough to have a solid pitcher in Mollee Putnam and a growing feeder program. Hopefully, the transition will be as smooth as it can be.

The Johnstown softball team broke back into the win column last season. Hopefully, the Lady Bills will improve on that and string a few together this season. In Fort Plain, a pair of coaches is double-teaming the duties after long-time coach Don Stockwell stepped down at the end of last season.

Gloversville and Johnstown baseball always provides some entertainment, even when Johnstown starts out the season with a record around 1-8, as it has the last couple springs.

There are too many good storylines to list here. I just can't wait to be outside again.

In January, I had two athletes ask me which I preferred covering - basketball or baseball. It's not an easy question to answer. Baseball is easily the best sport ever invented, probably more so because of the people who have played it than the game itself. But in the midst of basketball season - of the playoffs - how can your attention be anywhere else?

Somehow, mine is all over the place.



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