WESTFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Above-average temperatures today, plus school vacation week, equals a lot of kids taking advantage of being outside in New England in the middle of February.
In fact, many spring sports teams are hitting snow-less fields all across western Massachusetts.
Kids who play spring sports know it's a gift to be able to actually practice outside in February. One facility in Westfield is happy to be able to use their outdoor fields for the first time this season.
Practice was on the turf Monday at Roots Athletic Center in Westfield. These Westfield Bombers were clearly happy to be outside in the middle of winter..
"Now that we get to play outside, it’s really cool that we actually get to get outside and get fresh air while we play," said lacrosse player Mike Lavner.
Gavin Toper, 10, told Western Mass News that this never happens.
"We're playing usually indoors in the beginning of the season then it's outdoor for the end of the season. [Reporter: so it’s great to be outside today?] Yeah," Toper said.
Teammate Justin Bard said practicing outside before the official spring season is a whole new ball game.
"I can throw the ball farther because I don't want to break anything inside, so I kind of like give myself free space," Bard said.
Roots general manager and coach Ryan Lavner said the above-average temps are a great way to start winter break and get a jump start on spring sports.
"I think it’s critical. Most schools in New England now have access to turf and stuff like that, which is allowing people to be outside," Ryan Lavner said.
Lavner said the key to winter in New England is turf. Weather permitting, Roots gets its outdoor turf fields up and running whenever possible.
"Some years, it's terrible out. Some years, we have to plow the fields and some years, it’s like this. Different organizations and what not utilize outdoor space in pretty terrible conditions, but having these types of facilities make it possible to be outside, regardless of whether the grass is soaking wet or not," Lavner said.
It's a fact not lost on another Lavner, the GM's son and lax player, Mike.
"It's actually really important because you need to practice throwing in the wind because it’s actually much harder in the wind to pass because it blows the ball all over the place," Mike Lavner noted.
With another few days of above-average temperatures in the forecast, Roots is hoping to keep all its teams outside as much as possible during February break.
Youth lacrosse begins the first week of April. At the high school level, tryouts and practices for all spring sports begins one month from today, March 16.