February Blues

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By: Brian Laubscher
Sports Information Director

Raise your hand if you’re in the midst of the mid-February blues.  You know, that time where you want spring to be here so badly, but you know that winter has some cruel intentions left in her.  This condition becomes even more exasperated for a sports information person (or athletic trainer for that matter) when you consider that the winter sports are entering their most exciting time of year, while the spring sports are excited to get their season underway.  Throw in that most of the professors, student body and off-season coaches are using February break to take a much-needed vacation, and you get the picture of how the February blues come to pass for someone like me.  In more ways than one, winter isn’t quite over and the spring hasn’t quite sprung.

Last week, we saw temperatures rise into the 60-70 degree range while the spring sports were just beginning competition.  And while this had me excited for the better part of three days, reality set in with colder temperatures and gray skies on Sunday.  There was also the further realization that this week will be the busiest of the entire school year and, after today, temperatures are going to go back to the 40-50 degree range.

Let’s define a busy week by taking a closer look at each day.  It’s a week that starts with a fairly easy Monday (when I wrote this), but entails plenty of travel and planning to accomplish everything that needs to happen.

Monday (as I write this):
I began the day by checking my e-mails from the weekend and responding to any inquiries seeking information.  I generally let the e-mails pile up from the weekend so this takes longer on Monday than usual — generally an hour for an average day depending on what people’s requests may be.  After that, I usually handle any reporting to the conference office such as player of the week nominations, etc.  Beyond that, it’s on to any number of projects that pile up.  Since we don’t have a single home game this week, my focus can turn to some projects that don’t get done on a daily basis.  I’m also considering cleaning out my e-mail sent box and trash bin, but I always have the fear that I’ll need to reference some e-mail not long after I trash it (which I fear because it always is the case).  Later today, I’ll receive word on how the golf team is doing on their spring season-opener in Alabama and I’ll write a recap to send out to the masses regarding the Generals’ exploits.  Follow that up with a workout and some time at home and Monday isn’t so bad.  Tuesday’s when the fun begins.

Tuesday (when I posted this):
As usual, the day will begin with the checking of e-mails and the subsequent responses.  After that, I’ll make sure to get house in order so to speak because I’ll be leaving for Salisbury, Md., for the men’s lacrosse game on Wednesday.  Due to Feb break and a myriad factors including my Wednesday absence from the office, we were going to tape the W&L Sports Weekly today instead of its usual Wednesday Noon time slot.  Unfortunately two of our guests could not work it into their schedule so we had to cancel.  Bummer because the Sports Weekly taping is usually followed by an enjoyable lunch in the Commons with producers Laurie Lipscomb (Communications Office) and Michael Todd (Journalism) and, of course the talent, Jeremy Franklin (WLUR).  As Laurie and Michael can attest, Jeremy always gets served first thereby signaling the alarm that he is either becoming a rock star or he is performing “favors” for the dining hall staff.  We’re not sure which is the case.

In place of the show I have decided to continue my preparation for the rest of the week by making sure I have our rosters and information to our opponents, while collecting the same for the teams that will travel here (mostly tennis over the weekend).

Andy shows off his dance moves at my wedding

I’ll leave for Salisbury in my shiny Enterprise rental sometime around 2:00, which means I’ve already begun bargaining with Nate and Rachel to handle such things as writing the golf recap when it comes in between 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm.  Around 7:00 pm, I plan to link up with former Sports Information Assistant Andy Krauss for dinner in Bethesda, Md., before hitting the road again for the final 2.5 hours of the journey to the hotel in Fruitland, Md., where it will be lights out when I arrive, but not before checking to see how men’s basketball and baseball fared in their games.

Wednesday:
The morning and early afternoon should be fairly open as I can’t imagine there’s much to do in Salisbury in February.  I mean, if it were June, I could make the short drive to Ocean City for some sun and surf, but clearly I’ve already mentioned that it is February, which is gray and cold.  I’ll probably just sleep in and grab some lunch at a local dive while killing time before the 3:30 pm match-up with the Gulls.  My last two trips to Salisbury for lacrosse games ended badly (2000 and 2004) and I’m hopeful this time will be different, but I’m also realistic.  Salisbury is ranked second and just killed Lynchburg 13-5 on Saturday. Ugh!  As for during the game, I’m planning on getting some video footage (for one of the many projects I’ve got in mind) and then writing the game up after it’s over.  Then, it’s back on the road around 6ish for the 5.5-hour trip back to my home in Waynesboro.

Thursday:
Though I’m sure I’d like to sleep in, I need to get the rental back to the parking deck for the Enterprise pickup so I need to wake up early enough to pack for Friday-Sunday since I won’t see home again until Sunday (Maybe).  Given that my commute to Lexington is 45 minutes, a 6:30 am wake-up isn’t out of the question.

Upon arriving back at the office, I plan to answer some e-mails and take care of anything that needs attention before hitting the road again for Salem, Va., and the ODAC Basketball Tournament.  I’ll be handling the official statistics for the first round of the women’s tournament on Thursday and the championship games on Sunday.  Games occur at 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm, 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm.  As you can imagine, I’ll probably be fried at the end of those games and hopefully I’ll get to see a W&L win in the 3:00 pm game.  After the games are done, I’ll be staying with former W&L Track & Field Assistant Coach Garrett Brickner and his roommate, none other than Assistant SID Nate Jervey.  Much easier than driving the additional 45 minutes to Waynesboro after a long day.  I’m sure it will be around 11: 00 pm by the time I get there so it will again be lights out and on to Friday.  Well, maybe after one adult beverage, we’ll see how I feel.

Friday:

Bring on the Dew -- or maybe some Starbucks!

It’s right back to Salem for the Generals’ men’s basketball game against Virginia Wesleyan should W&L win its game tonight.  We would play in the early game at 1:00 pm.  Should we lose to Lynchburg on Tuesday then it’s back to the office for a full day for the first time since Monday.  I’m sure I’ll wonder where the week has gone while I abandon my pledge to cut back on soda and caffeine.  I’m pretty sure I’ll need it. 🙂 So whatever time I have on Friday will be spent preparing for the Centennial Conference Wrestling Championships hosted by the Generals.  I’m not quite sure what to expect since we haven’t hosted this event since 2004 and I’m pretty sure I was traveling and not present for that go-round.  I do know that little fires tend to flare up before events like this and I’ll be prepared to handle what comes along.  There is a coaches meeting scheduled for 6:30 pm and I need to be there to introduce myself and help with the wrestler seedings.  I’m hopeful this will be done by 8:00, but just in case I’m going to crash with Nate and Garrett to avoid the commute home and another very late night.

Saturday:
Another reason for staying in town is that Saturday’s wrestling tournament starts for me at 8:15 am as I wait to see if the prior nights seedings and brackets will hold up through the weigh-ins at 8:00 am.  After that it’s copying the brackets for the program and the tournament begins at 10:00 am.  I’ll be handling the PA and other administrative duties for the event, which should end around 6:00 pm.  In between I also hope to get recaps written for the lacrosse game at Denison and the tennis match at home against Bridgewater.  After things wrap up with the wrestling tournament, there is another coaches meeting to determine postseason awards and to submit the names of the Centennial Championship wrestlers to the NCAA for submission into the national tournament.  I’m hopeful this will end by 8:00 pm, but again I have no idea what to expect so I again booked a room at the Hotel Brickner/Jervey for Saturday evening.

Sunday:
Currently I’m slated to again handle the statistics for the ODAC basketball Tournament Championship games on Sunday.  These games are at 1:00 pm and 3:30 pm.  By this point, I’ll be running on fumes and praying for June to arrive.  That’s if I work the games.  After pondering my week, I’ve reconsidered and asked the conference if they can find someone else to do the stats.  Having Sunday morning/afternoon and evening at home with my lovely wife should definitely be in the cards.  So should some much needed R&R.

So, February blues?  For me, it’s about the overlap of the sports seasons first and the overlap of the spring seasons second.  If the winter sports season shall continue after this weekend, is it too much to ask for warm temps and plenty of sun to go with it?  Or, if the winter sports season ends, I guess three more weeks of winter temps are okay, especially since our fields all have heated press boxes!.

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