Early Ice Shouldn't Always Alter Late Games

Published 5:10 pm Thursday, January 20, 2011

After a two-hour delay on Tuesday morning, area school systems decided it wasn't safe enough to run buses. Many roads were quite icy as temperatures hovered just a smidge below the freezing mark.

It was a wise decision.

What wasn't so wise, was the automatic postponement of all evening activities.

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By noon, all the ice was gone, leaving just a bunch of wet streets. We in the South can handle wet streets.

High temperatures reached the low to mid-40s, and – as forecast – never got below freezing again.

Didn't matter. The Buckingham/Cumberland basketball games were already postponed.

Instead of playing the games on Tuesday night, the girls played in Cumberland on Wednesday night (see the story to the left), and the boys game was pushed to Thursday night at Buckingham.

One positive that came of this, is that it allowed someone who wanted to see both the boys and girls teams play in basketball's version of the “Battle of Route 60” to do so.

But if that were a concern, all games would either be played at one venue, or the respective schedules would run independent of one-another.

Often, when conditions are bad enough to cancel school, things aren't going to get much better over the balance of the day. That wasn't the case on Tuesday.

Conditions got better. Much better. At least no worse than they were if it never got below freezing early Tuesday morning.

Choosing better safe than sorry is understandable, but in truth, any and all games on Tuesday should've been played.

Using the same logic, it could be reasoned that if students get a full day in at school, but it starts snowing at 4:30, games have to be played that night.

Conditions were fair enough to hold classes earlier in the day, so it has to be safe enough to have a game that night, right?

Thankfully, that's not how it works. As it shouldn't. But the same pattern of thinking should be used when it becomes obvious that conditions are good enough to conduct activities outside of the normal school day.

Last year, wintery weather forced the cancellation of a number of high school basketball games.

Both the James River and Southside District teams only counted the first meetings of their respective double-round-robin schedules.

It's not likely that we'll see a winter as bad as we had last year. But twice already this month we've found out that it only takes a small ice event at the right time to force the schools to close.

Instead of snow, what if we experience a bunch of days like Tuesday? Nothing to shovel, but just bad enough to be an inconvenience.

It would be regrettable to have to count only one half of a district schedule without getting to throw so much as one snowball.

Having a provision that allows after-school activities to run on their scheduled times if the conditions allow, is one way to make sure such a thing doesn't happen again.

Think about it. What better looks out for the welfare of students? Allowing all conditions to backload a schedule that could include two or three road games in a week – meaning students won't get home until a late hour on a school night? Or to exercise a little common sense, and play a game on a day when schools are canceled, but the evening's conditions allow?

The answer is an obvious one.