April showers bring more than just May flowers. For McNary athletics, and other area high schools, they bring on the logistical headache of having to cancel and reschedule games.
This month has been unseasonably wet, even for the Pacific Northwest, and this year the task of rescheduling games has become even more complicated. Not fully because of the rain, but due to a lack of officials, athletic director Scott Gragg said.
With less available officials, last minute rescheduling the week of, or even the day of, isn’t always a viable option, despite what the schools want.
And the officials are just one piece of the puzzle.
According to Gragg, there is a list of at least 10 people that have responsibilities on game day that need to be informed about a cancellation or rescheduling. Coaching staffs, trainers, charter buses, janitorial crews and more need to be kept in the mix on gameday.
But Gragg doesn’t take the credit for the work that is done. He gives 99% of the credit to his athletic secretary.
“When you have a good support staff and a good group of leaders the stress isn’t as much,” Gragg said.
Gragg credits the coaching staff for doing everything possible to get games played, saying three or four were played because of the coaches.
Gragg also has to weigh which games to reschedule first. According to Gragg, the emphasis is on varsity league games, which must be played prior to May 19 to count in the standings.
While Gragg credits the coaches, head softball coach Kelly Parsell gives it to the players.
“The girls have done a real good job at staying flexible, being ready for practice, being ready for a game,” Parsell said. “I think the South [Salem] game last Thursday was a good testament to how they’re ready to go at any time. I definitely went into that thinking we’d be rained out. The girls were ready to practice and then by 2 o’clock we were like “Alright, we’re going to give it a shot,” and they came out and played better than we’ve seen all year.”
That flexibility must be shown not only in readiness to play, but for where they’ll play.
Last week, baseball had a Thursday-Friday doubleheader with South Salem. Thursday was initially scheduled as a home game for South Salem, but due to the conditions of Gilmore Field the game was moved to McNary last minute. Friday’s game was then moved to Gilmore, but any rain in the area by 3 p.m. that day would have forced the game back over to McNary.
As Gragg deals with the logistics of rescheduling, the coaches deal with the strain on the roster.
“I don’t know if the girls would see this as much but we have to think about our pitchers,” Parsell said. “Now we have a doubleheader against McCay and that changes things. Ellie’s a catcher, five games in one week is a lot for a catcher so we’re going to have to think about how we can balance that out and provide relief but still allow for the girls to continue to grow and prepare for the games in the future.”