Winter weather wreaking havoc on sports schedules

Last year, the Oregon softball team spent its spring break in Florida. They probably wished the trip would have been this year instead.

Without having to travel to warmer climes, everyone else was still able to bask in 80-degree up north during that same time period.

That hasn’t been the case in 2013. Instead of being warm and sunny, cold and snow have seemingly made a permanent home amidst local ball fields and tracks.

On March 12, the first Oregon softball and baseball games were to be played. As the calendar closes in on April, it’s been a no go on any softball/baseball games or track meets.

“It’s been kind of bizarre,” Oregon Athletic Administrative Assistant Tracy Harvey said.

Every school in northern Illinois is facing the same dilemma.

“I can’t remember a March like this,” Forreston Athletic Administrative Assistant Pam Greenfield said.

“We were spoiled last year by getting so many games in.”
At Forreston, the baseball players even tried shoveling snow off the field.

“All we have are hallways and a gym to practice in,” Greenfield said. “A couple of days, they did get out in the parking lot, though.”

The weather messes with scheduling softball and baseball games. One advantage for Forreston is that the NUIC has an individual and a website, aribitersports.com, that assigns officials.

“We let the assignor know what going on and he takes cares of it,” Greenfield said.

At Polo, Janice Deets handles transportation of athletes to practices and games. The weather has made that task more difficult.

“With all the uncertainties in whether or not there will be practice or if the time is going to change, you need to reschedule bus drivers,” Deets said.

In getting players to Forreston or wondering if a game might be cancelled, it can be a juggling act for Deets, especially when the weather doesn’t cooperate.

“There is a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that takes place,” Deets said.

It can be a domino effect with all the variables - fresh-soph, varsity, boys, girls, softball, baseball, adjusting for the regular bus routes and now, inclement weather.

At Oregon, the baseball, softball and track teams have the luxury of an indoor facility, the BlackHawk Center, to work out in.

“We’re fortunate to have a place for batting practice and where track people can run,” Harvey said. “As of now, we haven’t been able to do any work on the fields or bring any equipment out to the track.”

Oregon installed a brand new 8-lane track last summer and the track teams are still waiting to get out on it. The first home meet might not be until April 6.

“Right now, we’re looking at hosting out first event (baseball) on March 28and that’s subject to change,” Harvey said. “Like everyone else, it’s wait and see.”

In checking with Kevin Heironymous, the Sports Editor for the Bureau County Republican, he reports that schools along I-80 near Princeton haven’t had much better luck.

“We’ve only had two soccer games,” Heironymous said. “Hall played at Bloomington and Princeton played on turf at Dunlap."