Don’t like the weather? Just wait five minutes.
I’ve heard that Wisconsin expression throughout my life, and it’s as true as ever this week.
Highs in the upper 60s one day, then a 40-degree or more dip the next. It’ll all be balanced by next week, and I sure hope the fluffy white stuff stays in Minnesota — they have more room for it up there.
This week is a grueling reminder of what’s to come: An autumn that can be sunny and comfortable one day and a bucket of irritation the next. Cold and dreary? Tomorrow will be sunny skies and you’ll be itching to get the golf clubs back out of storage.
Here in Wisconsin, we force ourselves to mow our lawns before the first big snowstorm hits. We don’t let summer vanish in an instant, however, as we turn on the grills and make burgers while three inches of fluff fall on the patio table.
For outdoor sports, weather like this can be both funny and annoying. For five weeks we had nearly perfect weather for football — almost too warm, if anything.
Then we had a night with a torrential downpour so hard I wasn’t sure if my house would be considered beach property when it ended (it’s not, and I had to tell the kids to put the floaties and noodles away).
Now this week for football, we get a seasonal burst of cold air. For a few minutes we’ll all smile and breathe through our noses as we arrive at the stadium, happy as the butcher’s dog that “football weather” is finally here. By the end of the first quarter, the temperature will be sitting at about 34 degrees and we’ll say to ourselves, this is fine. Everything is fine.
By the 6-minute mark of the fourth quarter, we’re burying our hands in our pockets while simultaneously pulling our shirts over our mouths as we take each breath. Seeing the vapor trail was cool at first — we pretended this was our own ice bowl — but now, with minutes to go, we just want to feel our toes again.
I’ll be feverishly jotting down notes, while deciding fewer plays need me to hold up the camera and snap a picture. At this point, Hour No. 2 of temps below 32 have my fingers hardly wanting to hold the paper, let alone jostle around an overweight image-saving device.
My brain starts to begin its shutdown process. Words get garbled during sideline chats and interviews. My thoughts veer off and I begin thinking of grabbing a PBR and sitting on the couch, then I begin thinking about sitting in the boat on a sunny day, catching fish. That fishing daydream turns sour as a gust of wind reminds me of a wet, cold day when no fish are biting.
There’s not even snow and ice on the ground yet. The grass is still mostly green, and the turf is soft. I’m reminded that this is hardly as bad as it will get.
A big play will happen. The crowd will cheer, and I will remember that I have a camera in my hand. Whoops, I’m late and missed a shot.
Another day next week I’ll be standing in a gymnasium, except that the heat is on and the humidity has me sweating despite wearing shorts.
The climate here in southern Wisconsin is never a mystery, even though sometimes it’s a misery.
Next week will be slightly warmer, but who knows, maybe by mid-November the temps will be sitting in the 20s. Or maybe it’ll be in the 70s — we’ve had both over the last five years.
And then this fall season will end, and our local prep sports will all move indoors. We’ll trudge through the snow, the slush and the ice in the parking lots, kick the gunk off our shoes the entire length of the schools’ entryway rug, then enter a gym so warm we’ll have to remove over 50% of our garments to stay comfortable. Before we know it, a spring melt will arrive, and we’ll all act surprised that our rivers and streams are flooding. By May, thunderstorms will captivate us, but postpone spring sports for weeks to the point that we throw our hands up in the air, ready to be done with it.
But then there it is — that one perfect week at the end of June. You know the one — 82 degrees, light breeze and patchy, fluffy clouds in the sky. No threat of rain, no threat of lightning, and, bless this land, no threat of snow.
We open our grills, cook some chicken, steak and burgers, and sit down on the patio knowing all is right in the world. Ouch! Except for those dang skeeters.
Don’t worry, it will be 30 degrees again soon and your butt will be frozen to the bleachers during football.
— Adam Krebs is a reporter for the Times and wants to let you know that there are just 123 days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.