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Winter weather keeping athletic directors busy

January 19, 2011
By ERICH NEUHAUS, The Leader-Herald

For the third time in 11 days, the area high school sports schedule was wiped out due to harsh wintry conditions Tuesday.

With the season about halfway complete, rescheduling is a tricky task for high school athletic directors and coaches who are looking to get the games in before the season ends.

A lot has to go into rescheduling the winter sports than just seeing when the other coach and his team are available to play.

"It's not that it makes my job more difficult, it's just more time consuming," Gloversville Athletic Director Mike DeMagistris said. "You have to reschedule officials, see if there are other events going on at the sites. Will there be someone selling tickets, security, and clock operator? There's about nine or 10 factors that come into play. Thankfully, we haven't been affected as much as the other schools."

Fort Plain has been one of the schools affected most by the recent stretch of winter weather.

Between the wrestling and swimming teams that combine with Canajoharie High School, bowling and the boys and girls basketball teams, Fort Plain has had to reschedule nine games with other schools during the three cancellations, including its boys basketball game scheduled for Tuesday.

"It has an impact because they definitely want to play," Fort Plain Athletic Director Charlie Karker said about the boys team which is ranked 14th in Class C. "The girls have had two games canceled and they've been playing well lately, too."

Karker also noted that Fort Plain is fortunate enough to have two regulation-size gymnasiums in its district, so it can play modified games at one school, saying "other schools don't have that advantage."

When cancellations happen too late in the season, some games may not be able to be made up. With varsity games taking precedent, it's not uncommon to see some JV, freshman and modified teams have shortened seasons. Varsity games have been canceled in the past too, but usually non-league games.

"We have to have our league games in prior to sectional parings, so that's our first goal," DeMagistris said, noting that modified games have a Wednesday and Saturday schedule with Saturday being a long road trip in the league.

"We tend to err on the side of caution during the week," he said about the modified basketball games. "We feel like our kids should be home at a decent hour, so our long trips are on Saturday and our short trips are on Wednesdays. Our league has done a tremendous job in dealing with cancellations."

One of the more difficult sports to reschedule is bowling.

With bowling leagues already going on in some of the lanes, and lanes like Perry Lanes, which plays host to Gloversville, Johnstown and Fonda-Fultonville, making sure the other team can reschedule is just half the battle.

"It's a challenge for the lanes, too, because they are accommodating other schools along with leagues that go on at night," said DeMagistris, who has had to reschedule bowling on Jan. 12 against Broadalbin-Perth.

Buses also become an issue when it comes to rescheduling.

In the Gloversville school district, they are only allowed to send out four buses on any given day, DeMagistris said.

"If a bus gets taken off the road, or if a bus driver calls in sick, we might have to postpone the game," the Gloversville AD said.

For the most part, though, DeMagistris said the athletic directors around the area and in the Foothills Council do a good job making everything work out.

"We do a great job of communicating with each other," he said. "When school's canceled or delayed, we're usually the lone soldiers sticking around trying to figure out how to reschedule."



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