ADs scramble to make up games with snowy weather
Friday January 10, 2014 | By:Michael J. Petro | Sports
The first time the Frontier and Orchard Park boys basketball teams were to meet, on Dec. 13, it was not to be. Inclement weather caused the postponement of what was to be the first of two home-and-home girls and boys varsity doubleheaders this season, that night.
The two schools tried it again for Monday (Jan. 6) , but the weather brought blizzard-like conditions, causing another cancellation. So, the two schools are trying once again to reschedule the same game, hoping the third times a charm.
Similar scenarios are becoming commonplace for schools and their athletic director, coaches and players so far this winter 2013-14 season, especially in the snow-buried southtowns. Frequent snows beginning in December have caused quite a few cancellations.
The basketball game wasn’t the only casualty of this latest storm; Frontier had five games — between modified, junior varsity and varsity — cancelled on Monday and another five Tuesday. And due to a closing on Friday, when temperatures were bitter cold, Frontier lost another four games.
Frontier AD Rich Gray is trying to get these games rescheduled on dates that work for both sides, attempting to do so without losing any contests, especially league games, and in hopes of not having teams play on back-to-back days.
“You’re talking about 14 games to reschedule and get it done by the first week in February before playoff seedings,” Gray said. “It’s not bad when it’s one day but when you start combining days, it becomes like figuring out a jigsaw puzzle.”
Orchard Park athletic director Dave Hack reiterated a common theme known all too well in the Buffalo-area.
“It’s winter in Western New York,” Hack said. “These are the things you realize you could be dealing with.”
But this winter, only about three weeks old and just a few days after the holiday break, he admits has been unlike recent ones.
“It’s absolutely been one of the busiest to this point with cancellations and we’ve lost several days when after-school activities were canceled,” Hack noted.
Simply put on Twitter by Eden AD Marisa Fallacaro Monday afternoon, “I can’t take it.” Not only has this made life difficult on athletic schedules, it effects instruction in classrooms and student continuity. As the coach of the Eden girls varsity basketball team, as well, Fallacaro knows first-hand the effect cancellations can have on teams and it players.
Hamburg athletic director Pat Cauley admits it’s a challenge even for who he calls the good people of his athletic office. He said it effects the kids, more than anything. He tries to use it as a character builder and motivation to rise up despite the disappointment.
“It’s a headache for everyone in our office, and the kids are chomping at the bit to play,” Cauley said. “But what I tell the kids is, ‘This is life.’ It’s a part of a learning experience for them. How are we going to handle it is what is crucial.
“We can control a lot of things, but Mother Nature is not one of them,” he quipped.
A recurring theme was that the ADs felt a little more secure thanks to the assistants they had in their athletic department. Gray also indicated that it’s nice to work with ADs that attempt to accommodate one another.
“When you have good people, you get it done,” Hack said. “The thing is, almost everybody is dealing with it.”
“We don’t have much control over this, so we just do what we can,” Cauley noted.
Hack and Gray explained the process goes a little something like this: the superintendent makes a call on cancellations; ADs contact their coaches for possible available dates and then speak with their opponents for the event to see what works best for both sides; and from there, the best decision is made, in accordance with the ECIC and sometimes Section VI. League games take priority since they provide power points to the winner for playoff seedings. In between, there are a plethora of phone calls to make and take.
“We’ll bump non-league games because the league games take precedent, but we don’t like to do that,” Gray said. “The most important thing is getting the kids as many games as New York State allows.”
Rescheduling hockey games can be the most complicated, Hack explained, because of the limited opportunities for ice time. Gray noted that league administrator Mark DeFilippo, also the athletic director at Williamsville East, schedules extra ice time for potential postponements but those dates can run out quickly.
Gray said aside from the October 2006 storm, when he was the football coach, he can’t remember a time when Frontier teams were not able to get in an entire league schedule. He’s hoping that continues this season, even as blizzard-like conditions smashed the southtown-area in the early week. “Knock on wood, but I’ve not been in that situation before as AD,” he noted.
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