For those of us who enjoy the great outdoors, the winter sports season is a bit of a challenge.
Sure, there is plenty of excitement that goes on in those gymnasiums and indoor swimming pools across the Beehive State from November to February. Here in Tooele County, we got more than our fair share of exciting moments this winter, with two state swimming champions, multiple placers at the state wrestling tournament and the Grantsville boys and girls basketball teams each placing in the top five in Class 3A. But there’s something about the spring season that — pun absolutely intended — is such a breath of fresh air.
By this time next week (weather permitting, of course), I will have already seen the baseball teams from Grantsville and Stansbury, the boys soccer team from Tooele and the Stansbury softball team in action. The games come fast and furious this time of year. In fact, starting Monday, there are games six days a week every week through the end of April. The best part? They’re all outdoors.
The early-season games can be cold, for sure. Standing on the sidelines for a soccer game in Grantsville, a tennis match at Stansbury High or a track meet at Tooele when the wind is blowing in March can be downright unpleasant. But when the weather is nice, there’s no place I would rather be.
I’m looking forward to hanging out around the baseball and softball diamonds of Tooele County for the next couple months — of course, it helps that our local teams have legitimate state-championship aspirations. Sitting on the grass at a soccer match? Perfect. Watching sprinters on the track? Yes, please. A relaxing afternoon behind the wheel of a golf cart at Oquirrh Hills or Stansbury Park Golf Course? Count me in, as long as I’m not the one swinging a club (that’s when it goes from relaxing to frustrating).
Don’t get me wrong. I love our county’s winter sports and the athletes that play them. I am more than a little bummed that I won’t be covering the Class 4A state tournament this weekend at Weber State since our teams were knocked out of the postseason. I’ll certainly be interested to see how the boys and girls from Wendover do this weekend at their state tournament in Richfield.
And when I look at the seniors who just wrapped up their high-school basketball, wrestling and swimming careers, I can honestly say I’ll miss watching them compete. At Grantsville alone, two-time state championship-winning swimmer Zane Thomas, girls basketball standout Ashlee Edwards and three-time state finalist wrestler Joseph Mecham all wrapped up their careers over the past few weeks. Those are going to be some big shoes to fill. The same can be said at Tooele and Stansbury, as well.
But now that spring sports are here, along with longer days once Daylight Saving Time begins, there is also a sense of optimism. This should be a spring season to remember here in Tooele County. How good could it be?
Well, let’s put it this way: keep the fire trucks on call in May across the county. They might be needed to escort some valuable hardware home, along with some state championship-winning athletes.
It’s going to be a busy next couple months, but it will be fun to watch it all unfold.
Darren Vaughan is a veteran sports writer from Moab, Utah. He hopes the spring season goes well for all of Tooele County’s athletes with plenty of wins and no weather delays. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.