Imagine the faces of the University of Missouri-Kansas City women soccer players as they step off the bus in Fargo. If one of the players has slept, the arctic temperatures make them drowsy. You might as well be in Point Barrow, Alaska.
The start of the Summit League with North Dakota State was originally planned in Kansas City, but was moved to NDSU because of the weather. The irony is off the charts. It could very well be the first NCAA event of any kind to be moved 600 miles north because of the weather, where the high temperature will be minus 9 degrees.
The reason, of course, is that Kansas City’s forecast is also miserable and the kangaroos are playing outside. The bison play in the Dacotah Field bubble.
“We are very happy to have the interior to use this time of year,” said NDSU head coach Mike Regan. “And we’re very happy that UMKC would like to play the game as much as we do, and it worked. We offered to play flip flop and they wanted to come and do that. “
Get used to such scenarios for spring sport. The weather will get better at some point. It may take a while for the Coronavirus pandemic postponements and cancellations to go away in the Summit League and Missouri Valley Football Conference.
“Every program has gone through its ups and downs, getting children back and losing children,” Regan said. “Our student athletes have done a phenomenal job over the past two or three months, doing the right things, making the right decisions, and staying healthy. We have tested and are ready to play tomorrow night. “
The bison will look to improve on a predicted seventh place in the summit’s preseason poll. It’s a young team, 18 of the 26 players are freshmen or sophomores, with just four seniors, including Fargo Shanley midfielder Brookelyn Dew
“We’re a very different squad than we were in 2019 and I think it’s important that we just keep the process going,” said Regan. “We’re a completely different squad than we were two years ago, and in order to go to the conference right away we have to be ready to perform.”
Due to the lack of space, fans are not allowed to see them in the bubble this season. This is not the case with the Gate City Bank Field in the Fargodome for football, which allows a capacity of 50%.
The finish line for soccer is May 16 in Frisco, Texas. That much we know about the Division I Football Championship subdivision. Until that day, the unexpected will likely be the expected.
It happened earlier this week when the Missouri Valley postponed the West Illinois soccer game at the South Dakota soccer game next Friday to April 17th. This is the makeup date for all Valley teams. If the bison aren’t playing a game that day, consider it an unlikely gift of a bye week.
So far, the NDSU basketball teams have escaped the procrastination virus. If the bison men and women can play a series against the state of South Dakota this coming weekend at home and the following weekend in South Dakota, mark the regular season as great. And luck.
Football can be different. More players. More trainers and support staff. The FBS made it every week despite obstacles and I would expect the FCS to be able to do that too.
Getting to Frisco may be more a matter of survival than a matter of the field.
Incidentally, the maximum temperature in Point Barrow on Thursday is minus 26, but warms up to a mild minus 15 on Friday. NDSU has six players from Las Vegas, California and Oklahoma. You’ve been here long enough to acclimate.
The Kansas City players may wake up Friday morning wondering where they are in the Arctic Circle. Thursday is Giving Hearts Day in our region and I would like to give three pieces of advice to the Kansas City players with years of experience:
Don’t talk about the cold. It makes you colder.
Turn it into a badge of honor. Take a cup of boiling water from the hotel (provided it has a microwave), step outside for a brief moment, and toss it in the air. Watch the mobile phone video as the water instantly evaporates into ice crystals and send it to your friends in warm weather. It never gets old. Ask your science professor if this qualifies for additional credits.
The inner bladder is not a warm oasis. Double the warm-up time before the game and do not sit on the bench wrapped in a blanket for long periods of time for the bench players. I have to keep moving.
“It’s getting colder than usual, but we train in it every day and it’s been good for us,” said Regan.