Warm, dry weather a welcome relief from rain

SEE VIDEO http://www.ottawasun.com/2011/05/30/warm-dry-weather-a-welcome-relief-from-rain

Rain boots and umbrellas, make way for sunblock and cleats.

After a soggy month with nearly triple the rain of a year ago wreaking havoc on local sports teams’ schedules, the sunny blue skies and scorching temperatures are coming as a relief to many.

“In my 19 years involved in Little League baseball, this has got to be the worst year we’ve ever had,” said East Nepean Baseball Association president Bruce Campbell.

There was 90.4 mm of rain in May this year, compared to 33.8 mm in 2010.

“You don’t want the kids getting hurt by slipping and falling in a wet area … It’s really put the league off by a complete week.”

About 600 kids are supposed to play two games each week over the six- or seven-week Little League schedule.

House league runs from May until June 20, just before the school year ends.

Then the all-star season starts July 1.

But the heavy rain messed up the master plan.

Now, to make up the time lost, player development is taking a back seat.

Practices and clinics are being held on weekends when it’s not raining, said Campbell.

Last summer, “everything was on time, everything was on schedule,” Campbell said.

The team generally plays from Monday to Thursday then practices on weekends.

It’s a similar schedule for the Gloucester Hornets Soccer Club.

Participants from age eight to 80 have been sidelined since May 15 when their 11 soccer fields were supposed to open.

A major factor: The 24.2 mm downpour on May 14.

“In the last two weeks, we’ve been open for three days,” said Gloucester Hornets chair Ralph Ehlebract.

“The Hornets Nest was way too wet.”

During that time, roughly 60 games were postponed and 100 practices were cancelled.

“Any given night, you can have between six and eleven games,” he said.

The season officially started last Monday but at least 7,500 soccer players in Gloucester alone have been rained out, Ehlebract said.

Their fields are now open but if a referee deems the field is non-playable, games will be cancelled.

Ehlebract said there’s a long-term solution, but it’s costly.

“If we would invest in more (artificial) turf fields, the rain wouldn’t be an issue,” he said, adding it’s frustrating for the children.

“They want to play outside.”

Tuesday is projected to be the hottest day May has seen this year with a high of 32C.

It’s going to feel like 42C with the humidity.

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