Mother Nature’s Ball Game

Varying weather and its effects on athletes

Elias Pipinos, Sports Editor

Weather changes, and that’s a fact, but it’s only a facet of life for people in competitive sports. 

As we’ve recently seen in Omaha, weather is indiscernible at times, with drops from promising highs of 60 degrees plummeting low enough for late starts and potential snow days. 

The negative effects of rapidly changing weather show for tennis players like Apoorva Kasireddy.

“The wind definitely affects how the ball goes when you hit it,” Kasireddy said, “A lot of the time, you could hit it really hard, but if the wind is pushing at you, it could not go over the net.” 

However, it is more common to see weather getting in the way of playing and canceling practices, meets, or even tournaments. 

“Rain [means] the whole practice is canceled, so you don’t have as much practice time to help you with matches,” Kasireddy said. 

Tennis, unlike other spring sports, includes a ball made out of rubber wrapped in felt. As the ball travels, the small, hair-like ‘fuzz’ on its surface helps it travel forward, backward, or sideways. 

Similarly to how hair flattens out after a shower, tennis ball fuzz only inhibits play after becoming wet. 

Tennis, unlike some other spring sports, is very heavily affected by the onset of inclement weather. Senior Michael Hugelman, who plays baseball, plays in a whole different ballpark.

Similarly, soccer player Leopold Juhel and his teammates are troubled by inclement weather.

“I’d say weather is a huge part of how we plan our [matches],” Juhel said. “The rain doesn’t affect much, but the ball does move a lot faster in the rain.We have to be more weary of that, but wind is probably the biggest factor for us.”

Although what may be most evident as a spectator is the movement of the ball, inclement weather can get in the way of a lot more.

“We just have to communicate more when there’s inclement weather conditions, so it forces us to be a lot more vocal on the field with our teammates,” Juhel said. 

No matter if it’s rain or shine, windy or still, or cloudy and pouring, MN’s athletes always show up and put their best cleat forward.