Done with Winter


One of my most vivid memories from this past season of youth hockey occurred in one of our final games. My son, Zane, was in net and had managed to trap the puck under his right toe, inches from the goal line. With nothing more than the strength of that leg and the will not to be scored on, he held that puck pinned to the ice even as three Gladiators whacked away at his leg, skate, pads and boot in an attempt to dislodge it.

I said to one of our defensemen, Gabe, on the bench. “Did you see that? Zane trapped the puck with his toe!”

“Well,” Gabe replied. “That’s why they call him ‘Squatch’, he’s got big feet.”

I am reminded of this moment as I look out the window on this fine, snowy day in January…wait…it’s April. It’s FREAKING APRIL 9th and it’s still FREAKING SNOWING! And much like Zane and that puck the boney grip of winter refuses to let go. At this rate, summer will begin a few days after fall.

A field of snow in Orono.

A field of snow in Orono.

It’s time for the ref to blow the whistle on winter. We’ve had our fun, we’ve built or snow forts, we’ve skied our mountains, we’re done. Please, dear Mother, let us be done.

The time has come for the ice to break and the snow to sink into mud. The time has come for the first bulbs to push through the frozen ground and bring color to the world.

The time has come for paddle racers to crash down Six-mile Falls.

The time has come for bugs to blossom out of their hiding holes if only to feed the fish I want to start catching.

The time has come for fields of white to begin to green so that fly-balls can be caught and golf balls can be lost.

I have refused to run the snow-blower out of principal. This is it. This is the end. Winter is over!

Except it isn’t. Softball is being played in domes. Tennis courts remain covered. Golf courses still slumber and dugouts are best used as ice shacks.

The Soccer and Baseball fields at Asa Adams Elementary

The Soccer and Baseball fields at Asa Adams Elementary

Zane and his friends at Asa Adams Elementary don’t seem to mind. As they have most of the winter they play soccer on the snow covered fields and sometimes football. They go down to the icy stream, build forts out of fallen limbs and have snowball fights. They’re still having fun. Which is great. But I’m done. I’m going back into my cave and binge watching some TV show without snow. Wake me up when summer arrives.

I’ll set my clock for June.

Travis Baker

About Travis Baker

Travis Baker grew up playing baseball, basketball, football and soccer. There was a brief stint with karate and a briefer one with fencing but he would not return to the glory days of youth sport until he moved to Maine and had a couple of boys, Zane (11) and August (7), of his own. Inspired by his lads, he learned to play hockey at the age of 35 and now plays every Monday night in Brewer. Thanks to a number of former students, he’s learned a wee bit about lacrosse, field hockey and track and field. When not helping out in his kid’s activities, is the award-winning playwright of One Blue Tarp and Hair Frenzy, both of which premiered at the Penobscot Theatre Company in Bangor. Travis is the author of Night and the Texas Sky, and numerous short stories and essays. He is married to the founder of Maine Yoga Adventures, Holly Twining. Currently, he coaches hockey, baseball and serves on the board of the Maine Junior Black Bears as the PR Director.