Cold fans

Dozens of fans braved the sub-freezing temperatures Friday night to both watch Sparrows Point play Clear Spring, and brave hypothermia.

Photo by Bill Gates

Well the weather outside is frightful ...”

Problem was, we were stuck out in it. For back-to-back soccer games. Over five hours out in the freezing 32-degree temps that felt even colder.

How cold was it during the state semifinal soccer games on Friday at Northeast High?

After the Sparrows Point girls soccer game, I attempted to interview Jasmine Pinter. My fingers, even though i was wearing gloves, could not grip my pen. After several attempts, Jasmine generously offered me a hand-warmer. It didn’t help.

(Being diabetic, I already have to deal with poor circulation in my hands and feet. My feet were fine, thanks to heavy thermal socks. My hands suffer because I need to wear gloves that allow me to work a camera.)

Of course, the pen didn’t write well, anyway. Ink tends to freeze.

Just as the Sparrows Point boys soccer game entered the first overtime (it was 32 degrees; of course the game was going into overtime. And a second overtime. And penalty kicks), my smartphone died. Killed by the cold. Heck, I didn’t even know cold killing smartphones was a thing, although it did make sense when I thought about it.

With my phone dead, I couldn’t continue tweeting game updates. When the phone finally came back to life later during the drive home, I had people wondering why I had stopped updating.

As the teams were preparing for the penalty kick shootout, I started shivering uncontrollably. Which is, ummm, a symptom of hypothermia. Fortunately, the game ended soon afterwards and I was able to get to my car and crank up the heat.

Note for future such situations: wear a real hat and don’t just rely on the jacket hood, since the hood tends to catch the wind and trap all the cold air around my head.

* * *

The Boonsboro girls, with a few exceptions, wore long-sleeved shirts under their jerseys and long tights under their shorts, as well as gloves and hats.

None of the Sparrows Point girls wore the long pants; just long-sleeved shirts and gloves.

“We don’t believe in ‘sissy pants’,” Sparrows Point coach Lori Sexton said.

Special “Iron Woman” attention should go to Pointers Emily Vetri and Skylar Owens, who dressed like they were playing in the July 7-on-7 league at CCBC Essex.

Vetri and Owens just wore their regular uniform jerseys and shorts: no gloves, no hats, no long-sleeved shirts and no long tight pants.

I don’t know whether they’re just both really, really tough, or just insane. Maybe they both just have Scandinavian blood in them.

And here I always thought women were more sensitive to cold.

For the Pointer boys, Givoni Herring played in just shorts and his jersey t-shirt. But, compared to Vetri and Owens, Herring made a slight concession to the cold by wearing gloves.

* * *

Patterson Mill, again? Well, I did call it.

This will be the third straight year the Sparrows Point and Patterson Mill girls will meet for the Class 1A state title. And, as a bonus, we get the Pointer and Husky boys also going at it for the state crown.

The girls game is at 5 on Friday at Loyola University’s Ridley Athletic Complex, with the boys game starting at 7:30. By now, Sparrows Point fans should have the route to the stadium memorized.

(At first, I felt playing the boys and girls games back-to-back was more convenient. As long as, you know, the temperature isn’t below freezing and I have to be exposed to it for five straight hours.)

In case anyone is concerned about the Pointers needing to beat the Huskies for the third straight time in the state finals, consider that the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers met in five World Series between 1941 and 1953, with the Yankees winning all five.

This is essentially the same Pointer team that beat Patterson Mill last season, when the Pointers had several new starters and the Huskies were the experienced group.

The Huskies have motivation; then again, they had motivation last year, coming off a loss to Sparrows Point in the final the year before. Just as Smithsburg had motivation in the 2014 state finals after having lost to Sparrows Point the previous year.

If Sparrows Point wins, it will be the first team in Maryland to win five consecutive public school state titles.

It’s soccer, and crazy things happen. But, after Hereford scored two goals in the last three minutes to stun Sparrows Point in the county championship game, I can’t see the Pointers letting this game get away.

* * *

The Sparrows Point and Patterson Mill boys both played Patapsco, and both lost.

“I told [Pointer coach Joe] Lambert they are physical and have some speed,” Patapsco coach Larry Fulton said. “It should be a pretty good game. I think Eastern Tech and Sparrows Point both have a shot at winning. I would be happy for both programs that two Baltimore County schools were state champions.”

(The Eastern Tech boys soccer team is in the Class 2A state championship game against River Hill.)

Patterson Mill also defeated Perry Hall 4-1 during the regular season. Sparrows Point did not play the gators this year.

Sparrows Point is trying to follow the path taken by Pikesville last year, when the Panthers won the Class 1A state title after winning one game during the regular season.

The Pointers won more than one game, but they didn’t have a winning record until beating Reginald Lewis in the Class 1A North Region championship game.

Just as an observation, Pikesville won its state semifinal game last year in overtime.

* * *

Four years ago, when Joe Lambert was the assistant coach for the Sparrows Point girls soccer team, his then-freshman daughter Kasie scored the winning goal as the Pointers beat Smithsburg 2-1 for their first state title.

Joe Lambert is now in his first year as the Sparrows Point boys coach. In the state semifinal against Clear Spring, Joe’s freshman son, Zach, converted the kick during the penalty kick shootout that clinched the win.

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