The heat is on as prep practice begins

As the legend goes, they once asked Greg Maddux about his fastball, which wasn’t exactly Nolan Ryan-esque, wondering about the effect it had when he would hit a batter.

“If you get hit by a bus going 90 miles an hour, does it hurt any more than a bus going 85 miles an hour?” he asked.

Point being: When you get hit by a pitch, it hurts. Period.

Which brings us to the current atmospheric conditions, which seem to be a little on the warm side.

Triple digits are nothing new is these here parts, but it will always be a point of conversation when the thermometer reaches that level.

As someone not named Greg Maddux might say, “If it’s 102 degrees, is it really that much hotter than 98?”

And it might not have as much impact if we had just gone to that Celsius thing a few decades ago. After all, the difference in 36.7C (98F) vs. 38.9C (102F) doesn’t sound all that intimidating.

Point being, hot is hot. If we are going to take precautions, then take them. Don’t wait for some magic number to tell you to do so.

The great impact it is having is with high school football, which has just begun its in-season practicing. The increase in artificial turf fields has made hot even hotter, but thankfully most schools have a natural grass field as a backup.

But it’s not exactly Ice Station Zebra on the sod either.

Coaches are having to make adjustments – and these are a group of people who don’t like making changes on the fly – because they feel the need. Or have been told to. Or both.

Don’t be surprised if you see mandates from people in offices that are set to 72 degrees about altering practice times. (One, in fact, has already done that.)

For example, practice windows might be allowed only if they conclude before 7:30 or 8 a.m. (depending on the start of the school day) or begin after 7 p.m.

It’s not as if nobody will sweat at 8:30 at night, but it’s at least something. Bossier Parish schools start the school year before their Caddo counterparts, so it could be a moving target for a while as everyone tries to adjust.

Hey, at least it’s not two-a-days!

It doesn’t matter how old you are or how tough you were when you went through it without water breaks, having two practices in the same day does seem unimaginable these days.

I was in a text conversation last week with a former coach, who wrote “I don’t regret it as a player or coach, but (I) don’t know about today. Times have changed with all the knowledge that has come out since our days.”

And he’s right on both points. At the time, it was the right thing to do. Precautions were taken, just not at the same level as today. Nobody’s fault; we just didn’t know any better.

Many of us also lived in homes without central air (let’s hear it for the attic fan!). We weren’t conditioned to air conditioning, and we couldn’t just set the thermostat to “Arctic” and take a nap or go play video games.

Along with that, everyone spent more time outdoors, so the heat wasn’t a complete shock to our systems.

But no matter what the generation or the technology or the preventative measures, one thing remains the same.

Hot is hot.

You don’t need a phone app to tell you that.

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