For Maine’s high school athletic directors, or athletic administrators as is the updated vernacular, the job can seem never ending. From event coverage, to scheduling, to dealing with the over zealous parent, to budgeting, and so forth, the hours can certainly be long indeed. On days when the weather outside is frightful, an AD’s workload increases exponentially. While their school’s compatriots are able to sleep in if school is cancelled or head right home after classes end, the AD’s workday is just beginning.
There are a myriad of phone calls to make. Your coach as well as the opposing school needs to be notified. Calls to the assigner of officials in addition to the transportation provider if you are the visiting team. Next is to notify all of the game officials such as scorers and timers. A new date is determined with all of the above people being notified of the change.
With our typical Maine climate this scenario occurs multiple times every school year. One year ago many basketball players thought they were in the NBA coming down the stretch. No they didn’t travel in first class chartered jets but some teams crammed several games into a very short window of time. This came after our state got walloped with snowstorm after snowstorm. In the spring we invariably get that one week when it rains and many wonder how the games will get played. Somehow they always do.
Some may call it global warming, or the newer hot-button term “climate change”. Hasn’t the climate always been in constant change? We did break out of the ice age long before the industrial revolution. But I digress. There is no question the 2015-’16 school year has been one of the kindest to athletic administrators and supporters of high school athletics in a very long time.
The fall sports season features the most dramatic climatic shift of all. Fans show up in short sleeves and shorts for the first game or two then it’s light jacket and pants. The layers and warmth of those layers increase until state championship time when the heavy parkas, gloves, and winter hats are out of the closet for good. Football season is usually good for at least one rainy Friday night, creating a quagmire of the field. The surface remains that way generally until the next year.
Mother Nature shined favorably with each week staying precipitation free. The heavy coats of postseason were shed for lighter clothing options. For instance, the Brewer-Skowhegan semi-final football contest was played in sixty degree temperatures, unheard of at night in early November. State championship weekend also produced balmy conditions, which certainly couldn’t have hurt the MPA’s coffers.
The winter months went relatively glitch free as well. The only real weather issue for athletic directors was if the school had a ski team. Ski schedules were altered on occasion due to lack of snow. For John Bapst basketball, where I served as scorekeeper home and away for the girls and boys programs, the Crusaders played 34 of their 36 varsity contests on schedule. A few contests at the Augusta tournament site were postponed on that first Saturday. Warm weather greeted fans for the remainder of the time, which again helped boost gate receipts, particularly in Bangor.
Baseball, despite some chilly days, has managed to play its games on schedule for the most part. At Mansfield Stadium, only one high school game has been postponed thus far due to weather. That is certainly a far cry from a typical Maine spring.
While AD’s, fans, and players alike have enjoyed the great weather in 2015-’16, something tells me things might just even out next year.