Sunday, April 1, 2012

April's Fool and the End of May-arch Madness

What is it with the weather on the last day of the month lately?  February ended with the legendary Leap Day blizzard of 2012, then March, though snow-free, closed with a tremendous letdown. Fifty degrees is right in line with the average high for this time of year, but when the forecast calls for 70° and sunny and the weather ends up 20° cooler, windy, and dreary, it's more than a little disappointing.

I'll admit that March spoiled me--a lot.  Last weekend, I heard that the average high temperatures over the past two weeks were the normal average highs for late May, and the meteorologist  renamed the month "May-arch."  Then, on the news last night, I saw a rundown of all the weather records broken in March.  Most days above 70° (eight), earliest date that Minneapolis reached 80° (March 17th), and the average temperature for the month was just over 48°, breaking the 112-year old record by more than three degrees.

But April Fool's Day snuck up early and made a complete fool out of the meteorologist.  His  forecast missed the mark by 20°--not in the good direction--and he was literally apologizing on the air.  His blunder couldn't have come on a worse day--I'd been looking forward to sun and warmth all week, and my mixed doubles team had planned the first outdoor practice session of the year.  When afternoon arrived and it was a breezy 49°, we decided we'd try again this morning.  So I was stuck indoors watching mediocre women's tennis on TV.  It hardly made me feel better to see that the weather was flawless at the Sony Erickson Open in Miami:

When I woke up this morning, I feared that today's rescheduled outdoor tennis might be a repeat of Saturday afternoon.  The meteorologist's confidence was clearly shattered, and he was very non-committal when delivering today's forecast on the news last night.  Apparently it was either going to be sunny and 70° or cloudy and 50°--it all depended on whether the clouds broke.  I like certainty in my forecasts, and he certainly wasn't offering any.

As I drove toward the courts, my fears were confirmed.  It was cold...and was I really supposed to believe that temperatures were going to skyrocket by thirty degrees?  To borrow a line from George W. Bush, "there's an old saying...that says, fool me once, shame on...shame on you. Fool can't get fooled again."

Today's practice gave me flashbacks of those early-spring tennis matches in high school when we often had to play in gloves and stocking caps.  I can barely type this blog post because my fingers are still so numb--I have that weird feeling going on where I can only open and close my fists in slow motion because of the cold.  Needless to say, the tennis wasn't pretty today--nor particularly fun.

If you Google the word "ugly," you're likely to find pictures of that guy from The Bachelor, along with a video recap of today's match.  I don't think I've ever felt less motivated on a tennis court--all morning, I felt like I was wearing cinder blocks for shoes and hitting the ball uphill into a cold wind with a piece of old aluminum siding.  I've seen people in wheelchairs with better footwork...

Strangely enough, no one else in the area seemed to share my motivation issues--every single court was taken!  After a cool (normal-for-March), cloudy week, I guess it's a clear sign that people want less regular March and a lot more May-arch:

My first outdoor hitting session of the year is behind me--and none too soon.  The last time I hit outside was more than four months ago at USTA Nationals.  If I got anything out of today's debacle, it was firm confirmation that I'll take Tucson in November over Minneapolis in early April.  I couldn't feel much worse about my tennis game at this point.  Returning home and watching more Sony Erickson Open coverage on TV certainly didn't help--witnessing near-perfect tennis in flawless Miami weather is not what I needed at that particular moment.

If today was any sign of my skill level, it looks like I need to spend plenty of hours on the practice court before outdoor tennis season officially kicks off.  April, you better not let me down--yesterday aside, May-arch set the bar extremely high.  I'm willing to forgo the May flowers if it means we can skip the April showers.  I'll take 90° and humid, please.

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