The Super Bowl is one week away. We’ve gotten over some serious Winter Weather ’11 but we’re just getting to the end of January. For the bulk of January, the temperature seemed to have taken up residence in the 30 block instead of the 50 block. But, as this past weekend may attest, I’m here to tell you spring is not far away. Around the 49ers athletic department, we don’t look for any groundhog – we can tell spring is coming by watching the activity around the outdoor fields. The Charlotte 49ers recently completed their new tennis courts adjacent to a site that will be home to the 49ers Halton-Wagner Tennis Facility, due to be completed later this year. They played their first matches on the brand new courts this weekend. The 49ers baseball and softball coaches are tweeting about players heading back into their locker rooms, the tarp being pulled up and workouts getting underway. Track athletes, still in the midst of their indoor season, are making the most of their outdoor workouts. Soon the weather will turn, permanently, to warmer climes, the sun will shine a bit brighter and kids, who could/should be playing outside right now, will grab their bats, and gloves and rackets and clubs and head back to "the great outdoors". Growing up in Massachusetts, I loved spring. The snow would start to melt away, grass would poke through after a long winter’s nap and baseball cards would show up at Don’s Market. We would shed winter coats for windbreakers, winter hats for baseball caps and boots for sneakers. But it would all take place in April. In Charlotte, spring comes a lot earlier and stays a lot longer. And right here, in University City, there are so many ways to take advantage of the season. The great running and biking trails around the area, the lake (and paddle boats) at University Place and plenty of area fields. On campus there are an array of athletic events to enjoy. The entrance off of highway 29 will take you right by the 49ers baseball and softball fields, tennis courts and track and field center. Stop by. Stay awhile. All are welcome. 49ers Baseball prices are reasonable for kids and adults and Hayes Stadium provides a great setting to catch a game. You truly feel you are on top of the action. Softball games offer free admission and stadium seating right behind home plate. Both fields offer picnic areas and nearby stretches of green – perfect for kids to release the energy they’ve been storing inside. The new tennis courts are also more fan-friendly and once the facility is complete will offer fans a perfect viewing option. And track? The 49ers have some of the best athletes around and Belk Track and Field is a great site to catch top flight action. Sure, March Madness is still over a month away (and the 49ers are hosting the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Second and Third Rounds uptown at Time Warner Cable Arena.) And spring training has yet to start for Major League Baseball. But spring will be here before we know it. Take some time to get outdoors. Enjoy the crisp spring air. Let your kids get up close to the games they love. Baseball, softball, tennis, track and field. It’s all right around the corner. Go to the Charlotte 49ers website for schedules of all the 49ers sports. Basketball is here and now, but spring is not far away. Make some plans to spend an afternoon away from the computer and TV. Sunlight, fresh air and lots of green. And who knows, that Saturday with your family at a 49ers game may start to mean as much to you as that early April trip to Don’s Market always meant to me.