Fisher’s Files: Between rain, covid shutdowns, ADs had tough job this spring

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Sunday, May 23, 2021 | 11:01 AM


Nobody watches the daily weather report in the spring months moreso than high school athletic directors.

It seems the spring season has developed more turbulence weather-wise over the years than what we experience in the fall.

The 47th annual Baldwin Invitational was held May 7-8 under weather conditions far worse than those of many of the high school football games that took place last fall.

And then there’s the recent added factor of covid-19 precautions, protocols and shutdowns.

By the second week of May, Bethel Park had made more than 70 schedule changes since the start of the spring season, with most being due to weather and some because of covid-19 school or team shutdowns.

“Spring sports in Western Pennsylvania is much of the same each year,” said Dan Sloan, Bethel Park’s athletic director. “Mother Nature always impacts the baseball, softball, track and tennis seasons in some way. I actually thought through April we were doing really well with a few cancellations here and there. The past couple of weeks have certainly changed that around.

“When you get rain like we’ve had recently at the end of the season, it really plays havoc to everyone’s schedules. We are all working on a hard deadline to get section games in, and you end up competing three or four days in a row. The real challenge becomes fitting in the nonsection contests that end up getting canceled because section games need to take priority.”

Baldwin has been forced to make upwards of 20 postponements or schedule changes this spring.

“For the most part, I think the weather has been cooperative with the athletic season,” said John “Jay” Saras, Baldwin’s athletic coordinator. “It has only become a challenge in the last two weeks.

“The postponements and/or schedule changes can be attributed to the shutdown in our district, shutdowns in other districts, and most recently, the weather.”

The weatherman was cooperative in the first two months of the season, according to Brentwood athletic director Rick Huffman.

“We had better weather than usual in March and April,” Huffman said, “so we were able to play the majority of our games, including more nonsection games than normal. The first week in May presented a challenge with the amount of rain that we received, but it looks as though we will be able to complete our schedules in time.

“All in all, we were very fortunate to play as many games as we did, especially when you factor covid into the equation.”

Thomas Jefferson athletic director Bill Cherpak said his office has not kept track of the number of postponements or schedule changes this spring, but he said it seems as if they could be somewhere near double any previous year.

“Not only the weather,” Cherpak said, “but several of the teams we play have had covid shutdowns that have caused events to be rescheduled.”

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