Listen closely: I think local athletic fields are talking to us

By Steve McKay: Is it just my imagination, or are our local athletic fields summoning us to come visit them? I know, odd question. More on that later. So, how’s your “new normal” going these days? I don’t know of anyone who isn’t living through a major routine shift compared to what we were doing months ago before all this “stuff” hit us.

For some of us, daily patterns have been altered dramatically, with working from home duties, online school kids underfoot, and unfortunately, easy access to the previously out-of-reach junk food drawer in the kitchen.

One positive change for the Mrs. ‘n me is a more consistent walking routine. We’ve been fairly diligent with our huffing and puffing along the streets of Orono over the years, but as of late we’ve kicked it up a notch. Part of our daily path takes us around the track at U-Maine, where we ran into a bit of mystery recently.

A couple of days ago we thought someone was rolling some rocks or pebbles down the stairs of the metal grandstand, yet we knew there wasn’t anyone else at the track or in the bleachers. Every few seconds we could hear pops and snaps, prompting us to try to determine what or who was responsible for these mystery noises.

Was the grandstand at U-Maine talking to us?

Yesterday we stopped to observe for a spell, and determined the following: During the overnight hours with dropping temperatures, the metal in the grandstand gets cooler. When we arrive at the track, the sun has been up for about 15 minutes, with the rays of the sun striking the metal of the grandstand, causing it to warm. The pops and snaps we are hearing is the sound of the metal moving ever-so-slightly as the grandstand warms from the rays of the sun. The lesson: when metal warms, it moves-and even makes noises!

OK, here’s where my imagination kicks-in. In the strange days we’re living through, it is odd, sad, weird, distressing (insert preferred word here) to drive by, or in our case, walk around an athletic field of any sort. They look lonely. A bit unkempt. They miss us, don’t you think? Seems to me the U-Maine grandstand was greeting us the other morning. “Hey! How are ya? So glad to see ya! When can I expect to be played on again? Man, I sure do miss y’all…”

Indeed, none of us know when we will be reunited with our favorite fields. Hopefully soon. I for one miss watching grandsons and granddaughters and their chums play baseball and softball games on these local fields. In the meantime, we will continue to adjust to our new routines.

Gotta scoot….heard a rumor about a new batch of Chips Ahoy cookies in the drawer…

Jeff Solari

About Jeff Solari

Jeff Solari is the president and founder of the Sports Chowdah, Maine’s only free, weekly sports e mail newsletter. Recently, the Mount Desert Island native was the co-host of "The Drive" on 92.9 FM in Bangor.