April, when hope springs eternal, and you’re not sure what to wear

It’s a glorious month, April, when the heater and the air conditioning are both in use, sometimes on the same day, yet are also often idle.

Just when you think you’ll not wear that sweater again until about Halloween, you find out otherwise.

It’s NFL Draft month. I’m not into mock drafts or draft guides or anything related to the draft except when it is actually happening and after it ends. I like when former players, favored fans, cute kids and heroic humans get the call to announce their favorite team’s pick. I like when an overjoyed pick messes up Roger Goodell’s helmet hair. I love when some family member, girlfriend, pal or pet does something bizarre while the man of the moment is in camera focus.

It’s spring game month. Not long ago, that was a big deal. Now there’s this transfer portal. Ask Coach Prime about that. When I last checked, over 40 Colorado players were in a snow-dusted game Saturday and in the portal a couple of days later. While 40-plus is extreme (so is Deion), the reality is some players who looked good in your team’s game are now looking elsewhere, and the coaches were already looking at their shopping lists, hoping to plug gaps they knew they had – before the surprise departures.

It’s the first month of MLB, of NBA and NHL postseason. Other than our Shreveport Mudbugs, I don’t closely follow hockey, which has been too bad for a fan of all things Pittsburgh – until this April, when the Penguins failed to reach the playoffs for the first time in 16 seasons, despite a winning record (40-31-10). Reaction: clean sweep of the coach and front office leaders. Meanwhile, the Pirates, who I have faithfully followed since their last decade in Forbes Field, have stolen the good karma along the Allegheny and shockingly have one of best starts in baseball. I do not want April to end.

The NBA? I’m just glad I have Shaq and Sir Charles to entertain me after I watch the last 4-5 minutes (actual time, not game clock time). NBA players are some of the world’s top athletes, and I’ll keep an eye on North Caddo High alumnus Robert Williams III. He does some really nice things quietly around his old stomping grounds, and like another former Celtics center from here, he has a really great nickname (“Time Lord”).

It’s Masters’ month. Four days of golf lore, wrapped in a botanical fireworks show, with a soundtrack of Ray Charles crooning “Georgia on My Mind.” And in these parts, we can hammer some boiled crawfish and watch. And cheer for future Masters’ champ Sam Burns.

It’s the grand finale of the greatest extended spectacle in American sports, March Madness. The Final Four almost always wraps up in April. This year we had a strong rooting interest with Benton’s Emily Ward as captain of Kim Mulkey’s LSU women, and Shreveporter Jennifer Roberts on the basketball staff as “Director of Player Personnel and Influence.” Translated:  she helps players maximize NIL opportunities. Don’t believe she advised Angel Reese to chide Caitlin Clark in the closing moments, but that’s worked out well for Reese’s bank account.

It’s when they run the Boston Marathon, the world’s most epic distance race. Not even the Olympic marathon can captivate a city like the Boston Marathon. The world’s best run there, and so do some of the most remarkable competitors in our community, like the incomparable Frank Bright. The 80-year-old retired Shreveport attorney ran in his 20th Boston race last Monday, and finished third in his age group. This nice guy never finishes last.

It’s postseason for high school spring sports. The LHSAA website does a fine job providing timely final score updates – except in golf. Regional boys championships were Monday. Tuesday night, still not Result One to be found at LHSAA.org. Golf doesn’t continue after sundown. Tennis does, and Monday night every match at the state championships in Monroe was posted. 

It’s the peak of college commitments for winter and spring sports. For example, after sweeping the LSWA and LABC Class 4A boys’ Outstanding Player awards, Bossier’s Tahj Roots has decided to cross the Red River and play for the strong LSUS Pilots’ program guided by Kyle Blankenship. It’s great to see local talent stay home, or nearby, if it makes sense for them.

Speaking of LSUS, how about that Pilot baseball team? Peaking at the right time is an understatement. That winning streak is now 19, the longest streak anywhere in NAIA baseball. LSUS has thrown six straight shutouts in Red River Athletic Conference “competition,” outscoring those foes 84-0.  The Pilots are 37-6, RRAC champs (with solid 2-3 chasers in Louisiana College and LSUA) and primed to make back-to-back runs at the national championship after last year’s surge to the NAIA World Series semis.

Give me April ahead of nearly any month. And another round of crawfish, please.

Contact Doug at sbjdoug@gmail.com