October 22, 2013

My point is... The Sneezin’ Season

By Nita Johnson
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — A blast of arctic air coupled with rain was a harsh reminder last week that winter is on its way.

This area has been blessed with warmer than usual temperatures, once Nature realized that it was no longer summer. Then we experienced a sudden change from summer to autumn almost overnight.

Thursday’s cold temperatures and rain was another example of overnight change. Although rain has been in the forecast in the area for the past three days, the cold air from Canada brought home the harsh reality that soon the grassy fields will be blanketed with frost and snow and winter draws closer and closer each day.

While the fall season is nearly as bad for allergy breakouts as the pollen-filled spring air, the abrupt change of temperatures brings out the sniffles and sneezes.

Buying some stock in Kleenex would probably be a good idea for those of us who suffer from sniffles for about nine months of the year. Inevitably, we do, although we don’t receive dividends on our investments. Instead we get grimaces from co-workers and persons of close contact who often take a few steps backward to avoid picking up our ‘cold germs.’ We’re offered throat lozenges and hand sanitizer, all with apprehension by the giver who tries to be kind without being close enough to be infected.

The other benefits of the sneezing season include coughing, sneezing, sore throats, headaches and watery eyes.

Although most of us who suffer from allergies, frequent colds, and other ailments common with the pollen-infused seasons complicated further by frequent rainfall and cold temperatures, the most popular times of the year become some of the most unbearable.

Of course, those of us who stood outside in the downpour of rain on the Optimist Club’s soccer fields on Tuesday night didn’t aid our health conditions, even when several of us huddled under the scorekeepers’ tower on the upper field while family members of the younger teams tried to dodge the rain under the shelter of a storage building. Braver spectators continued their vigil on the bleachers, warding off part of the torrent of rain with large umbrellas and trying to hide from the wetness with blankets and jackets.

The kids, on the other hand, continued to play the game, despite the rainfall that was almost blinding at times. Puddles of water on numerous spots on the field and off the sidelines didn’t daunt their insatiable quest to end the game as the victor.

I’ve often heard that there is a thin line between dedication and stupidity, and Tuesday night’s games were a shining symbol of true dedication. As if the pouring rain wasn’t enough, the older teams who were competing wore black and dark gray shirts that proved to be another source of confusion for both the players and the spectators. It is difficult to distinguish between black and wet gray, especially when the rain is pouring down so hard that vision is obscured beyond a few feet.

It was no surprise when I awoke to a teenage soccer player with a throbbing migraine headache and a slight temperature on Wednesday morning. That was in addition to the sore face from being smacked full-force by a soccer ball during the previous night’s game.

And, with the tournament playoffs starting this week, I’m seriously considering extending my Kleenex investments to include a couple of ice packs!