Spring Offers Just a Glimpse of Summer’s Promise

I consider the season of spring to be the undercard, the preview before the feature presentation, the trailer for “Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed” when you bought tickets to see the life-altering “The Girl Next Door.”

Typically, most people try to assign such an inglorious distinction to autumn, a time which precedes the snowy festivities of winter and comes right after the good weather has just about run its course. And logic, at least on the surface, works for you.

But it’s not that I don’t enjoy the newfound sunshine trickling in around springtime, or the birds chirping, or even the odd green fertilizer recently seen terrorizing the Yard. Far from it, in fact.

Ironically, I just want the real thing.

You see, I believe spring—whether at home in New York or in Cambridge—to be little more than a tease, a prelude, a pre-season season, more than a real one.

To me, spring is summer’s little brother, and the height advantage lies in sports.

Every other time of year—but especially spring, due to its glaringly parodistic nature—pales in comparison to the quality and quantity of the athletic feats of mid-June through September. The period is defined by sports more than any other, and it’s not even close.

On the one hand, fall claims football’s regular season, the lion’s share of college football, and even World Series baseball in October. Winter, to its credit, gets the bulk of pro basketball, hockey and college hoops. Even spring—despite the above derogatory remarks—is tied to March Madness, MLB Opening Day, the NBA playoffs and the road to the Stanley Cup. (Some soccer may or may not be happening throughout the year, I’m not really sure.)

So I can understand if a sports fan out there is a bit mystified at my argument, as—after all—the summer “only” has baseball.

But who said we were limiting ourselves to so-called professional sports?

Have any of those other seasons featured me telling current Boston College freshman and fellow Regis High School alumnus Juan Maldonado that I’m going to strike him out in wiffle ball on three “filthy, knee-buckling” sliders—and manage do exactly as I had predicted?

Have they ever seen world-famously lazy Yale freshman and Staten Island native Pietro “P-Train” Deserio hit, when challenged, an absolutely implausible series of three pointers while sitting down on a park bench…just so he could sit out that game of three-on-three, undisturbed?

Have any of those other seasons witnessed Notre Dame first-year and Long Island native Kevin Brennan resoundingly reject a jump-shot by pathetic Queens native and University of Chicago student John Latella—directly into his face?

Has spring, especially, featured an endless string of noontime games of “Ultimate Knock-out”—all of which have devolved into some form of basketball-throwing group violence?

The answer, I’m pretty sure, is a resounding “No.”

And if you’re wondering—or if the nickname “P-Train” wasn’t obvious enough—Juan Maldonado, Pietro Deserio, Kevin Brennan and John Latella are not the names of prestigious sports recruits from my high school. They don’t partake in major NCAA Division I, II or III athletics; nor did they play a varsity sport in grades nine through 12. While CYO games may have been a different story, the “best” the group has now is Pietro, who plays rugby for Yale. The fact that I struck out Juan was no more of a historic athletic achievement than the expletive-laden mom joke he delivered to me immediately afterwards.