ZEELAND, Mich. (WZZM) -- From baseball fields to tennis courts, snow is causing problems for the start of the spring sports season in West Michigan. Local teams were forced to have their first day of practice inside on Monday and the extended winter could impact the rest of the season.
Swinging for the fences doesn't have the same impact inside a basketball gym, where Zeeland West High School held its first softball practice of the year.
"It's not the same as dealing with the sky, the sun, and the wind," says Mark Werley, athletic director for Zeeland West High School.
Werley was willing to play ball with WZZM 13 for an interview to explain why his team can't play ball outside.
"As you can see around me and behind me, we've got lots of snow," says Werley.
Baseball and soccer fields are covered in snow, and the tennis courts are no different. The first official game of the season is just a couple weeks away. "It is a 'what if' type of situation for all of us,'" says Werley.
Even after the snow melts the ground will still be wet for a while and that's just added to the other weather challenges, like rain delays, that come with any outdoor sports season. "You may see athletic directors on less than ideal climate kind of days that just have to go ahead with contests."
Werley says he'll do whatever he can to avoid a shortened season, or fewer games. "We'll play maybe more than we're practicing after spring break. Our goal is always first and foremost to get conference games in and then anything we can as far as non-conference is concerned."
Werley says snow removal is costly and the equipment could also damage the field. "One of the keys to this spring is going to be patience," says Werley.
Werley says that several winter sports games also had to be canceled because of bad weather. However, the school was able to fit all the games into the season.