Published 10:17 pm Thursday, April 30, 2009
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists swine flu symptoms as fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Those involved with Alabama high school athletics could add another: headache.
After canceling late Wednesday night all the state sporting events it sanctions, the Alabama High School Athletic Association on Thursday released a tentative schedule for postseason play in track and field, soccer, baseball, softball and golf. A final decision will be made May 4.
But the postponements have already created inconveniences for local players and coaches.
“It’s kind of thrown everybody for a loop,” Maplesville softball coach Ashlie Harrison said.
Harrison’s team, along with Verbena, was supposed to play in an area tournament Thursday and Friday at Holy Spirit.
The AHSAA, in its release Thursday, said postponed area tournaments will tentatively be rescheduled or resumed beginning May 5, and all other rounds will be played as originally scheduled.
Jemison began its area tournament Wednesday at Bibb County, and now the Panthers will have time – about one week – to practice before a game they need to win in order to advance to the regional round of the state tournament.
“We’re going to practice until they tell us we can’t,” coach Leighsa Robinson said. “At this point, you can work on some things you saw in the last game, but, for the most part, what’s going to happen is going to happen.
“You just make the best out of the cards you’re dealt.”
Isabella was set to host Thorsby and Reeltown on Friday for an area tournament. Isabella coach Mike Ratliff said the tournament would still be played in a one-day, double-elimination format, whenever it is rescheduled for.
Chilton County will also have to play in a rescheduled area tournament. The Tigers will travel to Demopolis.
Chilton County golfers Blake Jenkins and Forrest Knight would have their sub-state tournament moved to May 5.
The rescheduling of the state track and field meets could create the most significant problems.
Whereas two meets were originally scheduled for April 3-4, with classes 1-3 at Troy University and classes 4-6 at Gulf Shores Sportsplex, both meets will now be held at Gulf Shores on May 7-9.
Billingsley coach J.T. Lawrence spent most of his Thursday canceling his reservations for eight hotel rooms in Troy and making reservations for May 4-6 and May 11-15.
“I’m just hoping they reschedule it for one of those days I have it booked for; it’s rolling the dice,” Lawrence said before finding out both meets will be held in Gulf Shores. “They were pretty excited and ready to go [Wednesday]. The longer it drags on, the worse I think it will be.
“They’re going to get out of track mode, and those seniors will get into graduation mode.”
Or prom mode, as is the case for at least one Chilton County athlete. The CCHS prom will be held May 8, leaving Darnell Spear with a difficult choice: state or prom?
Spear, who would compete in 400-meter relay, said he might try to do both, but that would mean making a 3 1/2-hour trip after the competition on Friday and the same trip the other way before the competition on Saturday.
“Everybody is really excited [about the meet],” Spear said. “I hope we can make it work out.”
Thorsby coach Ken Copen also hopes he can find a way to make it work out. Copen had planned on his team commuting to Troy for the meet because of a budget that won’t allow hotel rooms.
“Track is not a high revenue sport,” Copen said. “For us, in terms of budget, that would be absolute worst-case scenario.
“Right now, I’m at a loss. I don’t know what we’ll do.”
AHSAA also released tentative postseason plans for baseball and soccer, but no local teams are competing in those sports.
Third-round baseball series and second-round soccer games would all be played May 5.