There’s a shift in the school year when the time comes around for kids to start playing ball. Those gray days of winter still lurk nearby, and we all worry that water is pooling too much on the infield, but as the March sun punches through February’s clouds, drying the dirt and bringing life to the birds, there’s a palpable feeling that spring is in the air and summer is around the corner just waiting to be summoned with those two magical words: “Play ball!”
Spring sports at a high school are a high water mark for student participation. In addition to softball and baseball, lacrosse begins, the boys are playing tennis, golf and volleyball start up, and the largest team most schools ever see begins to jump, run, and shot put around the track and field.
Those student athletes know that the difficult hours of practice they put in during the cool weather of March will pay off under the May sun, and their seasons starting up remind us all that graduation is closer than we think.
As a principal, this time of year is busy with preparation: for next year’s master schedule, giving tours to prospective students and families, and making sure that our ducks are in the proverbial row for state testing, senior activities, and ultimately that final day when mortarboards take to the air. Along the way there are retirements to commemorate, student awards to celebrate, and teachers to hire.
But this can also be a “tired time” as my former superintendent used to call it, a long stretch between winter and spring break. It’s a part of the year where we do well to try to be more patient with each other, smile a little more, and allow those around us, and ourselves, a little more room to breathe.
This is a time to embrace the efforts of others to keep our spirits up: ASB’s Spring Spirit Week, the math department’s “Pi Day,” and (here at SDA) the Dorkathalon.
Cheering on those spring athletes, the embodiment of youth, and spring, and hope, can be inspiring too. Today, if the rain holds off, I’m going to head out and watch a softball game, and I know that the time spent in the stands promises renewal. Kids playing under the sun has a way of helping put life into perspective.