Weather related postponements an Athletic Director’s nightmare

When you get multiple days in a row, multiple weeks in a row, rain has its implications for baseball, softball, and tennis ... Greenville AD Aaron Shaffer

Greenville Athletic Director Aaron Shaffer inspects baseball diamond early Friday morning while making his rounds checking playing conditions for Green Wave outdoor sporting events. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

GREENVILLE – Greenville City Schools Athletic Director (AD) Aaron Shaffer along with all Darke County Schools’ ADs expect normal disruptions in spring sports schedules most notably baseball and softball but to date this spring it has not been the norm. Tennis also is at the mercy of the weather, a sport only played at Greenville in Darke County.

“When you get multiple days in a row, multiple weeks in a row, rain has its implications for baseball, softball, and tennis,” said Shaffer. “Even track suffers when you try to run through rain or your facility gets soaked.”

“The challenges of communication with officials, coaches, parents, students, and administration, basically getting the word out on top of getting everything rescheduled it’s a huge challenge. It is a challenge, you’re always looking and guessing and hoping you’re right. Most of the time we get it right, sometimes you get it wrong but we need it to dry out soon.”

A rain soaked Sater Heights Park, home of Greenville Senior High School Baseball. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

“Right now we are at a critical point in terms of the number of days in a regular season we have remaining,” Shaffer added. “One of my middle school baseball teams has played two games and we have no more days to make up in their schedule.”

Conference games normally take precedence over non-league games stretching the limits of rescheduling.

“Most if not all leagues have a requirement if there is not a mutually agreed upon date,” Shaffer said. “Then the next available date including days where you have non-conference games scheduled you schedule on those dates so then you end up calling a non-conference opponent and pulling the plug on a game that you had scheduled for months but you have to get your league games in so that the conferences can crown a champion … and everybody understands.”

“When it gets like this there are always schools and teams looking for games because of that scenario if somebody drops them to play a league game,” he continued. “They’ll put it out that they are looking for a game. If you’re ever in a situation where you lose a non-conference game you likely can replace it but that’s part of what we do.”

An ever-increasing challenge for ADs is due to bus driver shortages across the nation in transportation scheduling of away sporting events.

“One of the challenges, driver shortages is a problem for about everybody and when you start piling games up for example, the MVL plays league games on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for baseball and softball,” Shaffer said. “That generally leaves Tuesdays and Thursdays open with the occasional non-league game. When you start dumping league games on Tuesdays and Thursdays that piles up bus drivers on top track meets and tennis matches and all the other things you have going on so you have to get creative, you have to be willing to do some things that may not be normal.”

Batter’s box at Sater Heights Park, home of Green Wave baseball. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

“We’ve started doubling up softball games to play double headers to get games in,” Shaffer continued. “Baseball is a little different challenge with that because of the arms and the pitch count rule so you kind of have to play them on other days or you’re going to be stuck. Bussing is definitely a challenge.”

Coach Shaffer quickly turned from Athletic Director to bus driver recruiter.

“If there is anybody interested in driving buses for us get ahold of Jody Harter at Memorial Hall (937-548-3185),” Shaffer stated. “She will be more than happy to help get you started down the path of driving buses.”

The spring sports season is much shorter than the fall and winter sports seasons adding to spring scheduling issues.

“We get a shorter season to play more games,” said Shaffer. “Baseball and softball can play 27 games (basketball 22 games regular season) so you have to squeeze a lot in a short period of time. We have basically lost a large chunk of the beginning of the season.”

“We’re at the point where we’re playing every day going forward,” he added. “It’s one of the challenges of spring, you can’t play baseball and softball on a muddy diamond so we’ll get through it one way or another.”

Greenville Senior High School Athletic Director office. (Gaylen Blosse photo)

Coach Shaffer and his staff have made it very easy to keep up with day-to-day sporting event scheduling including hourly updates as they are made.

“Our website, is the most accurate place to find an up-to-date schedule,” Shaffer said. “As soon as we know there’s a change, I communicate it to Jeff Martin my assistant who runs the website schedule. He changes the dates, adds games, or moves them around.”

“You can subscribe to teams and it will put the calendar directly into your designated calendar in your phone,” Shaffer added. “When we make changes it changes it in your calendar so it is the best place to find up-to-date and accurate schedules. If they’re not changed that’s because we haven’t had a chance to get the game rescheduled.”