Love the game, but not the cold weather

I've been reading forums complaining about the fact that we've used all of our snow days with a potential 4-6 more weeks of bad weather on the horizon. The complaints have been about everything from taking days away from spring break, adding them on at the end of the school year; about being the only county that has already used up their designated days, to why we only had four days built in when we used 12 last year.

It doesn't matter what they decide, there will always be critics.

One thing I know is I absolutely hate this time of year. At least as far as the weather is concerned.

I complain about the cold all the time. I see no redeeming qualities when the temperature drops below freezing. My youngest son loves to go skiing with his friends and they make a big deal out of not coming inside the entire time they're on the mountain.

I have no problem sitting by the fire in the lodge or sitting with the heat cranking in my car waiting in the pick-up zone.

Money for the "Night Card" is well spent because of the hours of enjoyment he gets, as long as I don't have to do it with him.

Snow is pretty but you have to shovel it. Ice is beautiful on the trees but when they snap and take out power lines, people go without heat. When it's on the road, even worse things are possible. As a teacher it's a double-edged sword.

The days off or the delays are nice sometimes, but you still have to cover the information from the curriculum, and the disruption to the schedule can be difficult to students in preparation for national and state exams later in the semester.

It's a family joke on how I feel about cold. When my extended family comes over, they wear shorts and t-shirts in the winter because we keep our house too warm.

When we go to their house, we wear our parkas. I married well though because my wife is the same. When her mother comes to visit, she lowers the thermostat. When she leaves we turn it back up.

My brother and a few of our friends started this crazy tradition back in the early '80's to take an annual dip in the falls — our version of the polar bear plunge — on the first day of winter.

I swore they were crazy (which really they are) and that I would never do something that stupid.

On their third year, I joined in and have done it every year, though my knee surgery in December prevented me from going this year.

There was the one year recently that none of us made it to "the spot" because of an act of God. There was so much snow that year that the roads to the park were closed and no one could pass.

I can't tell you how many Ravens games that I've been to in the cold, but one in particular stands out.

I'm a little foggy on who the opponent was, but it was a night game that felt like we were in the Frozen Tundra of Green Bay.

I remember having a portable gas heater and a three-sided tent, but the sheer raw cold can still make my teeth chatter just thinking about it.

Yet, I had no problem getting down to "The Grassy Knoll" (our tailgate spot) early that day to properly prepare for the game, and I stayed until the bitter end.

My father used to complain about going to my soccer games because we played on Sunday at the same time as the Redskins games.

But my parents both came anyway, despite my father having to listen to his beloved Skins on the car or transistor radio.

I've done the same and tried to make sure I'm there for as many of my kids' games as possible, regardless of weather conditions.

The number of times that I've sat on the cold bleachers of Calvert Hall or Ruby Field, or stood on the sidelines as a parent or coach in less than favorable weather conditions, is too numerous to count.

So why would someone that so detests winter throw all caution to the wind and suffer the consequences of the cold, rain and snow all in the name of sport?

The great William Shakespeare may have summed it up best when he said, "A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool."

Problem is, I haven't figured out which one fits.

Reach Robert "Bird" Brown at 410-857-8552 or


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