More ice and more cold offered another slew of cancellations on top of an already tumultuous 2019.
It's almost not surprising anymore, school and athletic events being rescheduled and pushed back due to the weather. This recent round of cancellations included a Mississippi Athletic Conference game in Muscatine, a River Valley Conference varsity double header in Tipton and a first round district game slated to be held at Prince of Peace.
Add that to a long list of postponements and cancellations. At this point in the year, a number of the games and tournaments cancelled will not be able to be made up before the postseason starts.
"I feel bad for the kids," Clinton activities director Andy Eberhart said. "I’m sure it has be been a struggle for them physically and mentally. They’ve been taken out of their routine of practice and competitions."
It's frustrating to the average fan and hard on teams and coaches, but the athletic directors really have to deal with the brunt of it.
"Cancellations are because of safety," Camanche activities director Brett Cline said. "We don't want our players, coaches, and fans out in bad weather and driving on snow or ice covered roads, or in extreme cases like last week, out in temperatures that could be life threatening."
When they see the forecast and weather conditions, they start the process. First, they contact the superintendent and other schools' athletic directors to talk about the options. Once they decide to cancel an event they contact the game officials. After that, it's game workers, concession workers, custodians, coaches and fans who hear of the decision. That includes via email and social media.
Then it's rescheduling.
"I can't remember a winter quite like this one in terms of the number of events that have been rescheduled and/or cancelled," Fulton activities director Patrick Henrekin said. "There is a lot of communication that goes into rescheduling a game. You have to work with the other AD's and try to find a night when both teams are available."
If you can find a night they're both available, you also have to hope that there are officials and game workers available. Henkrekin said that he's had problems finding officials on short notice.
"Working with other ADs has been great," Clinton's Eberhart said. "We are all in the same boat, so that has not been an issue. The game officials and the individuals that work as event staff for our home games have been great adjusting their schedules."
For the most part, the schools are working through the weather problems. A lot of girls's games postponed in the last week have had to be dropped due to the start of postseason. Boys are going to be playing three or four contests in a row to try to squeeze in last minutes games before theirs starts.
Just look at Prince of Peace. They play two games this weekend. Sunday games are unbelievably rare, especially when it involves two Catholic Schools (Marquette).
"Today's [Thursday's] cancellation was especially difficult because we now have no choice but to make up our game on a Sunday," POP activities director Jennifer Hansen said. "With the weather this season, we want to get our games played, so we have had to think out of the box and be creative when making up games.
"Our parents have been wonderful in being understandings with all of the changes and have been very flexible."
"The biggest challenge for rescheduling this late in the season is running out of dates before the playoffs start," Cline said. "With everyone postponing games, teams I'm trying to find make up dates with are currently booked due to other rescheduled games."
Plus, you have to consider that when a game is cancelled so is practice. The Fulton girls play in the regional championship of Friday and the Fulton wrestlers go into sectionals without a practice under their belt. The same goes for a lot of area teams, and is just another obstacle that Mother Nature has introduced.
"Our coaches have been outstanding despite the lack of practice opportunities leading up to postseason play," Fulton's Henrekin said. "As a former varsity coach, I understand how frustrating it can be. Again, our coaches and players have done a great job of not letting the weather or lack of practice time affect their play.
One thing has been apparent this year though, and that's what's important: student and staff safety is the priority.