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Brace yourself, winter is coming

Brace yourself, winter is coming

Colder weather shows signs of winter sports around the corner

By now, you’ve probably think I’ve gone crazy with my nonsensical-looking headlines. But, if you’ve mustered past my tries at humor — trust me, some of my jokes hurt me just as much as they hurt you — you’ve seen that I’ve got a point to my madness.

When I was in college, I had a rule in the newsroom: no Christmas music until the first snowfall of the year. Much like we associate turkey with Thanksgiving, some of us associate snow with winter.

Some people thought it was a good compromise; some thought it was altogether too soon, no matter the date; some thought the day it hit under 60 on the thermometer, it was time to put up the tree.

One year, snow fell on Oct. 6, thus springing into gear Michael Bublé’s holiday Pandora station. Last year, we waited until the first week in November. Yesterday, I felt some crystals on my skin as I stood in the street, trying to capture pictures for this column.

It’s beginning to look… and smell…and feel a lot like winter. And that is fine with me.

Holiday spirits aside, the winter brings us a lot to look forward to — and I’m not talking about pumpkin spice lattés and stringing up the lights three weeks before Thanksgiving.

The girls’ basketball team has a game on Nov. 24, marking the first real start of the winter sports season. Yes, practices will be going on well before then, but when that tipoff goes up, all bets are off and we’re in it for the long haul. Cozying up in the gyms for wrestling meets or basketball tournaments on the weekend shouldn’t be something fans should dread.

Believe you me, I know how hard it is to get out of bed when it’s 10 below out; I’ve grown up in Iowa my whole life.

But as I was talking about with some of the other people around me this past week, I’m pretty excited for this winter season.

At Iowa State, I covered the women’s basketball team. I’ve got a lot of good memories from that season that include walking in my canvas Vans through about four inches of snow in the parking lot the week of winter break, trudging to get in the back doors of Hilton Coliseum.

When that snow hits and my feet get wet, I’m not reminded of frostbitten fingers and hot chocolate. I’m reminded of unbelievable comebacks, driving to get McDonald’s during a day-long wrestling tournament, talking with Kyven Gadson, shaking hands with Fred Hoiberg and watching Chelsea Poppens and Anna Prins get drafted to the WNBA.

For a sports editor like me, the winter isn’t a time to hunker down, grab a cup of hot chocolate and “ride it out.” I bundle up and head out to the next event. It’s a lot more fun that way.

I’ve already heard the jokes about the winter months. I’ve heard them for the past 22 years. Heck, I’ve made them myself and probably will continue to make them.

What I’m getting at is the winter doesn’t have to be all those crappy things it has been in the past. We can associate whatever we want to winter.

So this season, instead of linking it to blizzards and uncomfortable in-law parties and three-hour trips on Christmas Eve, let’s take some time to associate it with Friday night basketball. Meeting up with the friends and family and watching the Comets, Huskies, Bearcats and Warriors battle with the best in northeastern Iowa.

Let’s put a positive sports spin on this winter, show up, drop a little holiday spirit and throw in a little competitive cheer.

Stephen Koenigsfeld

Sports Editor

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