Monday, December 02, 2013

Ball busting cold


Remember playing backyard football with your pals when it was so cold outside  no one really wanted to catch and especially kick the ball because it was so flippin’ painful?

Sometimes it felt like your toes were going to break off – snap right off your foot – but you played anyway because, well, you loved being outside playing football with the guys.

I grew up in Virginia, so temperatures rarely dipped below zero. And temps in my hometown were nowhere close to the minus-18 degrees Fahrenheit wind chills the Hamilton Tiger Cats practiced through Wednesday, Nov. 20, in preparation for the Grey Cup which was then four days away.

Yeah, that’s right. The Tiger Cats practiced outdoors in freezing cold weather in preparation for the expected frigid conditions during the championship game in Regina. (Joke’s on the T-cats; temperatures for the Grey Cup soared to about 33 degrees Fahrenheit.)

During that frigid Wednesday practice in Regina, the home of Hamilton’s opponent and eventual Grey Cup champions Saskatchewan Roughriders, several Ticats were treated for frostbite.

Ok, we hope those guys are fine – I’m guessing no one lost a pinkie or an earlobe – but frostbite, which is serious, is not the story here.

Nope, the most interesting storyline here is that Ticats’ punter Josh Bartel and kicker Luca Congi burst four footballs during kicking drills.

In a story for the Hamilton Spectator, writer Steve Milton explains: “One of the physics principles which makes kicking in frigid weather so difficult is that, upon contact with the foot, the ball compresses which provides propulsion once the bladder expands again. The greater the force of compression, the farther it goes.”

Later in his story, Milton quotes Bartel as saying, "They (footballs) all came off the foot OK. But the ball came down flat. It looked OK but when you stepped on it, or pressed it, there was nothing there."
Here’s a photo Tweeted by Ticats Director of Communications Scott McNaughton:

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