This time a year ago, baseball and softball coaches from around the area were struggling to recall a time when the weather, which included sunny, rainless days and temperatures that climbed into the 70s and even 80s by mid-March, had been so perfect.
"This is amazing," Cassadaga Valley softball coach Ken Balling marvelled at the time. "This has never happened before. We've been outside for the last two weeks. At this time of year you normally cannot even see our field (because of the snow)."
Well, hopefully they were mindful enough to take a few moments and enjoy the anomaly, because the weather has regressed to the mean - just take a peek outside your window.
There are a few high school baseball and softball games scheduled this week, but by the looks of the softball field at Southwestern it is doubtful any will be played.
P-J photo by Jim Riggs
Sue Teets and her Chautauqua Lake squad, for one, have certainly been wishing for a repeat of last season.
"Absolutely," she said, "we've been dreaming about those 75-degree days and getting a chance to have six scrimmages (before the season officially begins) again."
Nevertheless, there were a few teams this year that decided, in a fit of extreme optimism, to schedule games; among them were the Lady Thunderbirds, who are hoping to kickoff their baseball and softball seasons on Thursday, and Maple Grove, which scheduled its first games for Tuesday.
"I don't see it happening," Maple Grove softball coach Mary Bartkowski said with a laugh. "Last year was amazing because in all my years coaching (14), I had never, never been outside that early."
"Now," she added after a short pause, "there's snow on the ground."
And by the looks of it, more to come.
As of this writing the extended forecast, in fact, is calling for temperatures to hover in the low 30s with at least two inches of snowfall on Monday, another inch on Tuesday and then high winds - which will have windchills dropping the mercury into the single digits - on Thursday.
Even if the snow doesn't stick, that kind of weather - the polar opposite to that from just a short year ago - is too abysmal to play.
"We've played when it was 35 or 36 (degrees) before," Teets said. "It's just miserable."
"Even if there wasn't any snow," Bartkowski added, "there's no way I'd take the kids outside. The chance of injury would be too high."
So unless things take a drastic turn for the better, it looks like fans will have to wait at least another month, maybe longer, before teams will be outside on the diamond with any regularity.
"We're looking (at having our first game) after spring break," Teets said. "We're hoping that, by then, we'll be able to get outside and have a game or two before the league season gets started."
That's fine with Bartkowski, though she does admit that the delay will hurt not only her squad, but all throughout the area in terms of early-season development.
"I think that all teams benefited from going outside so early," she said. "It allows the coach to go through different situations, rundowns and sliding. And the biggest thing is you can practice with your outfield, which you just can't do in the gym.
"Just from that (extra work in the field) I think you saw much better play last year from all teams."
"It was a huge benefit," she said, "because we were really able to work in some new players and fit them in where they needed to be before the season. It really helped to solidify our lineup, which is something that I've not really had the luxury of doing in (all my years) of coaching."
Rest assured, however, whatever hindrances they might experience in the season's early going, their play is sure to "heat up" as the season progresses.
"It doesn't take long," Teets said.