Rain messes up spring sports more than all forms of weather in the fall and spring combined.
In the fall, football, soccer and cross-country will trudge on, even if the surface becomes mushier than an hour-old bowl of breakfast cereal that's been soaking in skim milk. Volleyball is played indoors. Golf might play in a light rain but maybe not in a deluge. Only tennis, in which a wet surface would create hazardous conditions, is subject to the whims of Mother Nature.
Snow may make things troublesome in basketball and wrestling, as it did this winter. But seldom are games lost. There's always someplace, sometime to get the make-up games played. And if everybody was able to make it to the gymnasium, then it doesn't matter what's going on outside.
But spring? Don't get an athletic director started.
Baseball, softball, golf, tennis and even track and field to some extent are all subject to rain, mud, lightning and -- as Rowan and Martin used to say on "Laugh-In" -- the fickle finger of fate. Excessive days of rain followed by days when the sun doesn't shine so the dirt and grass can dry out create the possibility that teams will lose games or events completely.
An unofficial count shows that Fort Scott High School has 10 spring events that have been or need to be rescheduled. That's just on the varsity level.
The Southeast Kansas League has 54 softball and baseball games that have been postponed this spring. Only 18 of them have been made up. Iola and Coffeyville have postponed baseball and softball doubleheaders against each other twice. Chanute and Labette County are trying to beat the forecast by pushing their games up from Friday to Thursday. Parsons has to make up three softball doubleheaders.
Some teams got to play one game but not the second. Pittsburg has to go back to Coffeyville sometime later this year to play the second game of a softball doubleheader. That puts a crunch on the travel budget, especially when gas is $2.75 a gallon.
Paola rescheduled a track meet that Fort Scott High was scheduled to be in just because it anticipated bad weather. They made a good guess, because it did rain that day but usually, only lightning will stop a track meet.
Lynn Barr, Fort Scott's tennis coach, faces the possibility that his team will lose at least one varsity tournament. The Kansas State High School Activities Association decided to hold the state tournament a week earlier this year and that takes away a week that you could move matches into so they aren't lost.
The Tiger golf team had its first tournament postponed. Then it ended up being played in the snow when it was made up. Their second tournament was played in the rain. That was probably easy compared to the first meet.
And in order to get varsity events in, junior varsity events may have to be sacrificed. This affects the development of the JV players and could impact a program the following year.
For instance, Paola moved its track meet to April 16, which was when it was supposed to hold its JV meet. The JV meet won't be made up. That's one less day of competition for those athletes, especially bad for Paola's kids because it was going to be the only time they ran at home this year.
If things don't change soon, there could be a chaotic final week of the season as schools try to find open dates to make-up games and tournaments. And there may still be schools which finish short.
On the final week of the season, your team could be playing two…or three or maybe four.