Winter is throwing quite a wrench in the professional sports calendar. Outside of rainouts in baseball, weather does not cause many game cancellations. The worst months of the year for weather in the United States are usually January-March. That is hockey and basketball season and those sports are played indoors. Conditions at outdoor football stadiums during the NFL playoffs can be rough, but the participants and spectators usually bundle up for the three-hour battle without a hitch.
The opening weeks of 2024 have brought forth weather that has forced some hard decisions in the name of public safety. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Buffalo Bills was delayed a day due to a weekend white out. Snow and 60-plus mph winds turned Western New York into a winter hazard. The game was delayed to keep people off of the roads during a travel ban, and while it was played on Monday, the storm returned on Wednesday.
Once again, driving conditions were treacherous and this time an indoor sporting event had to be postponed. Due to the bad winter weather, the Chicago Blackhawks and Buffalo Sabres were not able to take the ice, indoors.
On the other side of the country, winter did not force a game to be rescheduled, but one of the key participants was not able to get to work. Deandre Ayton’s home in the Portland area was surrounded by so much ice that he was unable to leave. His neighbors tried to help, and ,of course, the Portland Trail Blazers sent aid. However, after hours of effort there was no way to safely get Ayton out of his home and to the arena according to Blazers beat reporter Casey Holdahl.
What a day for Old Man Winter. He returned to Western NY after leaving those folks alone for a couple of days, and still found the time to reach out to Northwestern Oregon and trap an NBA center who is on his way to his sixth-consecutive season averaging a double-double. Laugh at ice if you want, but I remember Snowpocalypse 2014 in Atlanta. Those who have never attempted to turn on a car’s ignition only to be surprised that it won’t start because water the height of a small flood has frozen underneath the tires, might underestimate the power of the Old Man.
He is letting us know he can force the rescheduling of one of the NFL’s biggest events, as well as indoor games that are normally not affected in any way by winter weather. Professional sporting events of all kinds are being postponed because a snowstorm has resulted in visibility for drivers barely extending past the front wheels of their automobiles.
A similar event caused disruption last year in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The Detroit Pistons were not able to fly out of that region due to an ice storm. After losing to the Dallas Mavericks on a Monday, they were not able to get back to the Motor City for a Wednesday game.
Weather is usually considered a variable that human beings must learn to deal with in spite of its extremes. Heat, deep chill, precipitation, people are expected to power through, especially when it comes to the most macho of events — professional sports. Winter 2024 is proving to be far tougher than us, because in a matter of weeks, the hazards are forcing sports to bow down when it comes to town.