By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
April showers bring May flowers.
That is the normal sequence of events during the spring time.
The weather, however, can be a fickle thing in northern Indiana in late March and early April, which often times make spring sporting events an iffy proposition.
This year’s April showers have often times appeared as heavy rains that lasted most of the day or the frigid temperatures have been accompanied by flakes of snow. That consistent weather pattern has caused a plethora of headaches and problems for area high school athletic directors, coaches and athletes.
“This is as crazy as it has ever been,” Fairfield Athletic Director Mark Hofer said. “There was never anything like this when I was an athlete in the 1970s, a coach in the 1980s or since I became an AD in the 1990s.”
The weather has forced ADs to manipulate schedules with all the precision of the finest juggler the world has ever seen.
It should make them aware, if they weren’t already, that one of an AD’s most valuable asset is their athletic secretary. Just like athletic teams have an unsung hero, the type of player no coach wants to be without, the unsung person in the athletic department is the secretary. The person behind the scenes doing the little things that many times go unnoticed, yet are the ones that would make it harder or nearly impossible to conduct an athletic event if those details were not attended to.
“Counting boys and girls track as one event we have had 63 postponements or cancellations so far,” Hofer added. “We are approaching the point with some of our teams where they will only be playing conference contests.”
The Fairfield boys track and field team generally considers the Goshen Relays as a mid-season checkpoint to see how the team is faring. This year the Falcons had one meet in before last Saturday’s event.
That still didn’t stop coach Bob Miller’s crew from winning a fifth straight Class B championship.
“We had enough veteran kids to get us through,” the veteran coach said.
Schools are going to have to hustle to get in conference track meets. Next Friday (May 3) is the annual Kelly Relays (boys) at Concord and Saturday (May 4) the annual Goshen Girls Relays.
Those two events signify among other things the fast approaching end of the regular season in the sport.
The NLC championship meet for boys and girls is Tuesday, May 7 at Warsaw while the NECC conference boys and girls meet is Friday, May 10 at Churubusco and sectionals are the following week.
The Northridge girls softball team advanced to the championship of the Class 4A semistate last season before dropping a 1-0 decision to Huntington North.
The Raiders have a lot of the same players back including senior standouts Haley and Madison Schrock and junior pitching sensation Haley Nixon, but as of Friday night when the team defeated Elkhart Memorial 8-2 it was only their eighth game of the season.
“The biggest part of what the weather has done to us is we have not been able to get into a flow,” Northridge softball coach Do O’Dell said. “The girls were coming in each day and we never knew whether we were playing a game. Most times we didn’t know if practice we inside pr outside. Hopefully the weather has broken and we can back into more of a normal routine.”
O’Dell thinks last year’s spring spoiled us.
“A lot of people are talking about how this is not normal, but neither was last year when we had temperatures in the 70s and 80s with plenty of sunshine. Still snow flurries near the end of April gets old,” the coach said.
Postseason play is not far away in softball either as sectional are May 20-25.
The same thing can be said about baseball as sectionals are slated for May 22-27 and girls tennis sectionals are May 15-18.
Boys golf still has some time as sectionals are not scheduled until Friday, May 31; Saturday, June 1 or Monday, June 3.
Despite all the problems with postponing and rescheduling of spring sporting events there are other more important things, like the Boston Marathon bombing and the explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant, going on in the world.
NorthWood AD Norm Sellers summed it up with the following posting on his Facebook page.
“OK I think it is safe to say the water table is back to normal! I feel bad for our spring athletes that are losing out on games and looks to be another day of canceling events. But thinking of Texas and Boston and it puts it in perspective.”