by Doug Ireland
There’s no time like now when so many Northwestern State sports seasons cross paths.
(Excluding, please, the pandemic spring of 2021, when the football, soccer, and volleyball games
cancelled in Fall 2020 were contested along with the regular basketball and spring sports).
Crossover season actually begins in January when tennis is served up and indoor track and field hears
the starter’s gun. In early February, softball swings into action, then a week later, baseball fires its first
pitch. Meanwhile, basketball drives toward its peak, March Madness. Football prepares to shift from
off-season strength and conditioning workouts to spring practice, stretching into April.
Track action moves outdoors in March, while the indoor season culminates with the NCAA
Championships. In 2019, Lady Demon long jumper Jasmyn Steels won the national championship on the
first weekend of March, and a year later she was in contention to defend when she was actually pulled
off the runway at the 2020 NCAA Indoors as pandemic panic halted competition in mid-stride.
That was then. This, now, is almost back to normal, save for the still volatile COVID circumstances that, at
least, can sideline any competitor, coach, or essential staff member for five frustrating days of isolation.
But the games are going on as masks and mandates drop off.
Sports are non-stop on every college campus this time of year. For the athletic trainers and the sports
information staffers and the rest of the event staffs ranging from ticket takers to concessions workers,
facility maintenance folks and those who play the music, announce the action on site or on the
radio/internet, it’s akin to being an air traffic controller at O’Hare.
For fans, it’s like an endless pizza buffet (remember those? Sure you do, if your favorites are still on
hiatus. If there’s something you don’t care for, there’s still plenty that you want to fit on your plate.)
At Northwestern, spring sports have been pretty salty year in, year out for over a decade. The 2022
spring shapes up to provide plenty of success for the Demons.
In the slimmed-down Southland Conference, with eight teams in the league, look for Lady Demon
softball and Demon baseball to be in the race for the pennant. Women’s tennis is going to be a strong
contender. Track and field, men and women, may run away with conference championships, with
Southeastern Louisiana as the only apparent threats.
Basketball is closing in on the conference tournament in Katy, Texas, in the second week of March. UNO
and SLU are the best men’s teams, and on the women’s side, Corpus Christi and SLU are tops, but
there’s not a dominant team or two. Anyone can beat anyone.
Spring football will be more interesting than it has been in quite a while, with new coordinators running
the offense and defense in Turpin Stadium, and the transfer portal open for business. Some fascinating
additions to the Demons’ roster energized by Brad Laird’s staff shuffling will be worth a look in Saturday
scrimmages and the annual Joe Delaney Bowl spring game in early April.
Natchitoches is renowned for the Christmas lights, but for NSU fans, spring is the season to be jolly.
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