Well, I got stood up over the weekend.

And not for the first time, either.

In truth, I’m not even very picky.

But to be fair, I’m not one hundred percent certain whether any whitetail deer were aware of our appointment Sunday morning, so maybe it’s more of a communication problem.

But let’s leave that out of this.

• • •

Something useful that did come out of me watching the sun come up twice in two days was an intriguing thought. Intriguing to me, anyway.

This cold weather is slowing me down, literally.

And making me grumpy, too.

As I sat on the frozen earth watching the barren, deer-less landscape in front of me, I couldn’t help but admit to myself that were it 40 degrees warmer, I might take a hike into the next valley and do some exploring, and maybe even venture into the valley beyond that one, too.

Mentally and physically, cold weather is more difficult to perform in, it’s no fun and certainly makes it more difficult to maintain a good attitude.

• • •

A little sciencing – or in my case, googling – confirmed my well-timed excuse.

During times of cold, or shifts in weather, our bodies drift toward what is a type of “hibernation mode,” where we lack our normal energy and motivation.

Cold weather also slows our muscle response times, which is the more pertinent point here.

It’s that effect you get when you pull your phone out to reply to a text after having been out in the cold.

Your thumbs move in slow motion and suddenly the punctuation and emojis you typically pepper throughout your correspondence have disappeared. You need to get those hands back into your coat pockets, so you start sending “k” and “yep” a lot more and finding funny gifs a lot less.

• • •

There are plenty of excuses for a lack of success – I’ve got loads more.

But sports aren’t a place for excuses, not ones a coach wants to listen to, anyway.

So this time of year, teams drag out those giant heat-lamp looking things you find at skating rinks for players to huddle under when they aren’t on the field.

Watch a Packers game in January and you’ll see what we’re referring to.

But what if we could use that cold-weather effect to our advantage? You know, slow an opposing team down a little by dropping the temperature in the gym?

A couple years ago, St. Maries’ volleyball program was accused of doing the opposite when the AC went out at the high school and the Lumberjacks hosted Orofino in what was a humid, sweaty contest.

The folks from Orofino were suspicious and proposed this had been done on purpose. Their coach agreed and was even quoted in the Clearwater Tribune saying St. Maries “turned on the heat” in the gym on an already-warm evening.

• • •

Were it true, it wouldn’t be the first time a sports program made an attempt to gain an unconventional advantage.

There have been instances of hockey teams warming their ice to slow down an opponent, effectively canceling out any speed advantage.

Baseball pitchers get into trouble with that nasty-looking sticky stuff that helps them grip the ball better and get more control. Although that tactic is not so unconventional as it is unsettling to look at.

And of course we all remember what the New England Patriots did a few years back when they reminded us of how much easier it is to throw and catch slightly-deflated footballs.

• • •

There probably wouldn’t be as large an investigation as was done on the Patriots were one of our local high schools to lower the temperature in the gym by 15 degrees to try and slow down their opponent.

It might make for an uncomfortable couple of hours, though.

On second thought, forget I even mentioned it.

Collin Scheel is the sports reporter at the Gazette Record.

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