Above: Nick Bueno when he was 5 … Just kidding.
I’m no weather expert, but if you’re making plans to make Friday night’s game in the Palmdale area here’s some word of advice: bundle up! We here in Los Angeles are ridiculously spoiled with picturesque weather, where a cold day can mean turning on the fire place when it dips into the 60’s. That being said, you’re going to want to brace yourselves for low to mid 30’s when Monrovia and Paraclete clash at 7 p.m. at Knight High in the second round of the Mid Valley Division playoffs. St. Francis visits Palmdale at 7:30 p.m. in the Western Division. Since a year ago I went to Palmdale to cover the Mid Valley Division finals pitting Rosemead vs. Paraclete, I have a few tips that might be of benefit:
1. Bring munchies — It’s almost a two-hour ride up to Palmdale, and it can feel longer when you’re driving through the winding roads and reception on your radio cuts off, unless you have XM Satellite Radio, then you’re OK. Eating chips or whatnot can help fill awkward silence, depending on who you’re driving up with.
2. Bundle up! — You’re gonna want to over do it, trust me. That way at least you’re not like me who didn’t have any gloves or a beanie to keep my hands and bald head warm. The hottest item at the concession stand last year were hand warmers.
3. Lights, action! — Driving to Knight High can be surreal. It reminds me of the movie “Field of Dreams”. When you get off the freeway you’ll go through some residential streets before you go through the lonely roads. It’ll be dark, so you’re gonna want to keep those lights bright. You’ll get to see the field from a distance, and the closer you get the bigger the lights will seem. Knight High sits in the middle of nowhere.
4. Drink up! — Hot chocolate is the second hottest item in the concession stand, literally and figuratively. I’ll take mine with six mini marshmallows.
5. Portable heaters — You know it’s cold when even Paraclete fans have portable heaters in the stands. Both teams will probably have heaters in the sidelines, but you’re on your own.
“For most of the kids playing in the game it’s not so much an issue but the kids in the sidelines and the ones standing will be a lot colder,” said Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox regarding the cold weather. Monrovia will practice tonight and Wednesday at 7 p.m. in an effort to get acclimated to the weather, though it’ll be warmer here than what the Wildcats should expect Friday. But in the bigger picture, Maddox opted for night practices rather than in the morning because of the obvious. “Morning practices are rough just because not everybody in the program is an early riser,” Maddox said. “You’re not always going to get the most out of the kids in the morning. They tend to be much livelier in the evening, which is good and makes for a better evening.”