Spring showers create havoc

Rain makes western Oregon the green garden that it is. With rain brings a refreshing scent to the quality of the air we breathe.

And it triples the blood pressure of Oregon athletic directors in the spring as they constantly change the schedules of the softball and baseball teams all season long.

Fortunately, the track and golf teams just slog their way through the season. I sometimes wonder how a track athlete can motivate themselves to compete in windy, chilly, wet conditions. 400 meter sprinters, removed from their warmup gear, having to sprint hard and at some point directly into the wind. A polevaulter like a popsicle on a stick, swaying in a stiff breeze upside down. A long jumper’s reward is to land in a bed of soggy sand. Heaven help the 3000 meter runner who has slapped, slapped, slapped their way through puddle after puddle and even their constant movement can’t stop the slow freeze.

As for golf, I don’t need to see my ball plug on first contact or have to take a slap shot on the green just to break through the stream on the green. I do, however, like winter rules so much that I play them even during the summer.

But rain for baseball and softball, no way; postponed on account of rain is a common occurrence. Or snow as may be the case in Sisters. That means Steve Emmert has a lot of work to do.

On the day of a home game, secretary Barb Weld is on constant internet forecast alert. Emmert himself is analyzing the sky, watching the clouds as they drift, chasing rainbows of a different sort. Are the fields playable or are they still soaked from the previous day or night’s rain? He wants to make the decision by no later than 1:00 PM if possible. In the last case, he didn’t want Gladstone to come all the way to Sweet Home just to turn around.

If the game is to be canceled, he begins the long list of calls and notifications: coach and athletes, the opposing school, the officials association, transportation, and teachers. Fairly soon after that, the athletes are on phones notifying parents. Then Emmert must decide whether the game is to be made up or not. If it is, that means notification to all those people again.

It isn’t like setting up the schedule is easy in the first place either. In springtime, they often have to make several huge revisions based on team numbers and school finances. Many schools put a freeze on spending sometime during the spring and look for ways to make cuts. Schools drop some portion of their teams, most likely their freshman or even their JV programs if they don’t have a high enough turnout. Sweet Home dropped its JV2 team for that very reason.

So Emmert was back at the drawing board, rescheduling the JV team in creative ways to find the most playing time possible for the athletes. Dates changed, and once again Emmert had the phone cradled to his ear, as he crossed out and added or rearranged games on the schedule.

So when you see the “This Week in Sports” schedule in our paper, understand two things: 1) it probably isn’t; and 2) it has Emmert singing rain, rain, go away and come again at some more convenient time when the baseball and softball seasons have ended.