It’s time to start worrying about the weather


[email protected]

For high school activities directors, watching the Weather Channel qualifies as a rite of spring. In the final season of a year chocked full of scheduling changes, that duty has even greater meaning.

“Every stinkin’ day, we check the weather,” said Bill Cameron, in his fourth year as Brentsville’s AD. “Since I got this job, it’s become a sickness almost.”

Symptoms include dizzying schedules, shortness of alternatives and the pressing need to work on athletic fields.

Cameron said Brentsville likely will be able to start its spring schedule on time next week, but several other schools in the area continue to wait for fields to dry out. After a soggy fall of football competition — squeezed into a shorter amount of time because of sniper-related safety concerns — soccer and lacrosse players are sure to find the grass less reliable than usual.

ADs and their assistants were sure to point out Thursday that the spring schedules, which are intended to begin with a few games Monday and a wide array of events Tuesday, are extremely tentative.

The winter schedules were revised time and again because of inclement weather, highlighted by a February snowstorm that exceeded two feet in some places. Thursday, rain fell on the already swampy fields (after a sunny day with a high of 70 degrees). Two days earlier, when snow flakes fell in the morning before giving way to rain, ADs were chagrined, to say the least.

“How bad is it right now?” Manassas Park activities director Randy West said Tuesday afternoon. “On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the worst, it’s right up there at the top.

“We have standing water on the soccer and baseball fields — at least not on the softball field.”

West is optimistic that the Cougars can begin all their spring sports on schedule next week. At his school, volunteers installed a sump pump last Saturday to remove water from the baseball diamond. “But with grassy areas, about all we can do is wait,” West said.

Like West and the other fellow ADs, Hylton’s Jim Qualls logs on to the computer each morning to cautiously check the weather. He said the spring seasons could start as late as April, should more precipitation come soon. Hylton’s baseball players and coaches worked on their field last Saturday, but reversing a snowy winter’s no simple job.

“The thing is, the ground is so saturated that you’re really not doing it any good,” Qualls said. “The fields just freeze at night and thaw during the day.”

At Osbourn, AD Wayne Gryder said his school is “a go” to play next week. New sprinkler systems are going into the Eagles’ baseball and softball fields a month later than planned, but Osbourn is expected to start in every spring sport next week.

High school coaches and athletes have spent the entire 2002-03 academic year getting accustomed to flexible schedules. And it looks like life won’t be any different for those involved in baseball, lacrosse, soccer, softball, boys tennis and outdoor track.

“Who knows?” Potomac AD Frank Higgins asked rhetorically. “I’m not trying to be a smart aleck, but I do not have a clue when some of the fields around here will be ready.”

Similar Posts