Sunday, February 7, 2016

Spring beckons athletes to play outdoors

By Raphael Sugarman
Marisol Diaz/The Riverdale Press
Remi Kumar, 15, returns a volley at the Seton Park courts on March 28.
Marisol Diaz/The Riverdale Press
Henry Agront, 13, at left, tries to make a basket as Albert Reyes, 14, blocks his view during a friendly game of street ball at Spuyten Duyvil Playground on March 28.
Marisol Diaz/The Riverdale Press
Clare Kerrisk, playing for Manhattan College Jaspers Women’s Lacrosse team, leaps into the air to gain control of the ball during a match against the Fresno State Bulldogs at Gaelic Park on March 29. Jaspers lost 11-10.
Marisol Diaz/The Riverdale Press
Ezra Mutnick, 16, swings his tennis racket at the Seton Park courts on March 28.
Marisol Diaz/The Riverdale Press
Megan Yarusso, No. 9 on Manhattan College Jaspers Women’s Lacrosse team, passes the ball to a teammate during the game against Fresno State on March 29.
Marisol Diaz/The Riverdale Press
Frank Mejia, Jr., 13, goes head to head with his father Frank Mejia Sr., during a basketball game at the Spuyten Duyvil Playground basketball courts on March 28.

When the Manhattan College Lady Jaspers women’s lacrosse team began its 2013 schedule, New York City was in the midst of its brutal winter. The players were already practicing when the calendar changed for the New Year and by February, they were playing games in Gaelic Park’s blustery bowl. 

By the time the team played its second game of spring on March 29, at home against Fresno State, a Lady Jasper reflected on how the gentler season was a reward for toughing it out through winter. 

“In the spring you feel faster,” said Christina Fiorinelli, Manhattan’s goalie. “Everything feels smoother. Passes flow more.”

Though spring is just unfolding, athletes  — both serious and casual — are savoring warmer and longer days and gentler winds. 

Andrew Mutnick, a Riverdale resident, was playing tennis with his son Ezra on a recent afternoon on the courts at Seton Park. 

“It’s like the feeling of coming out of hibernation, of just being outside again,” said the senior Mutnick. 

He said that this spring was particularly appreciated after the treacherous winter that included superstorm Sandy. 

Ezra said that playing tennis in the spring is a fresher feeling than playing in the summer.

“You don’t feel as weighted down and overheated as you do in the summer sometimes,” he said.

Remi Kumar was playing on another Seton court with his father’s friend Robert Mitchell. Remi, a student at the Bronx High School of Science, said that playing indoors is “pretty different,” from playing in the sunlight of spring. 

“The wind can affect your shots a lot,” he said. “So can the sun and the heat and the shadows.”  

As for Remi’s partner, Mitchell, he said there is only one reason he prefers to play the game outdoors. 

“It saves money,” he said, referring to the fees players generally pay at indoor clubs. “That’s the only reason.”  

For tennis partners Ron Weiss and Dinesh Kunder, spring play offers a multitude of nature’s most pleasant aesthetics, without a profusion of people. 

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