By Steve Robinson | April 27, 2018 - 12:49 pm
Posted in Category: The Normalite

With temperatures pushing into the mid-60s or higher this week, I think it’s safe to say spring has finally arrived for real, and that will help us all get out of having that winter doldrums feeling we’ve been experiencing while waiting for it. After all, we still saw snow flurries a short time ago, and although they didn’t stick, it made all of us impatient, I’m sure, to declare an official arrival to spring.

Those students who participate in high school spring sports and fans of those sports were forced to stay off the diamonds for eight days last month because of bad weather at that time, too. And that was right after Normal Community High School’s baseball and softball teams had just returned from their spring break trip to Florida where they had gotten a week’s worth of games in.

For those of us who didn’t head south, waiting for warmer weather became the simpler goal. And local teams found themselves sitting out those eight days as a result of cold conditions.

And the weather has wreaked havoc for teams in other ways besides postponements. “It’s just been awful trying to get games in and scheduling,” explained Wendy Smith, athletic director at University High School. If the weather wasn’t an issue, she said, “When you get a nice day outside, then you couldn’t get officials. Or you get an opponent who can play but you can’t get transportation.” What Smith describes seems to be the pattern for ADs throughout the area.

“It’s been very frustrating for everybody – the kids and the coaches,” she explained, adding, “And now, we’re down to crunch time because we have to get our conference games and intercity games in and there are very few dates we can schedule dates on right now.”

Smith said playing at Central State Eight Conference opponent Jacksonville was helpful because the bad weather line stopped around Lincoln so getting those away games in wasn’t an issue.

Smith said Central State Eight Conference ADs met to decide what the air temperature outside is too cold to play in, explaining Illinois High School Association has a heat index to indicate when it’s too hot for kids to be practicing, as with football in the summer before and during the season, but doesn’t have one for determining what temperature is too cold to play in during the early spring.

“I’ve heard from more than my share of athletic directors and coaches who are frustrated with the weather we’ve had this spring,” admitted Sam Knox, Assistant Executive Director for Baseball at IHSA.

The heat advisory index IHSA uses comes from that organization’s sports medicine advisory committee, Knox said. He added an index for cold weather probably wasn’t considered because the degree of injury or illness to players doesn’t exist if the temperature is in the mid 30s and kids are being active in a sport. He said IHSA leaves the determination of whether or not to play in adversely cold conditions at this time of year up to ADs and head coaches.

As the calendar has turned to May, it looks as though we have rounded the corner, finally, away from winter weather and thoughts of what spring sports action will bring us. Let’s hope those thoughts include plenty of warm, dry days for players, coaches, ADs, and fans alike.

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