In the mid-1950s, as a player at Bangor High School, there were several times we left for Aroostook County for games in a motor coach, not a school bus, with two or three inches of snow on the ground and more snow on the way.
There was no I-95 to Houlton, just up old Route 2 with two-way traffic
Today, most of the basketball games scheduled for days like that are postponed. There hasn’t been many high school boys or girls teams that haven’t had a game postponed or a practice canceled or both because of weather this season. Games postponed are made up, but practices canceled are lost.
During my playing days, if school was canceled then the athletic directors waited until around 1 p.m. to postpone a game or cancel a practice. That doesn’t occur today unless at end of the season because games are supposed to be made up before the last week of the season starts.
The last regular season playable date is Thursday with games allowed on Friday if they are a Thursday postponement.
When a game is postponed these days, it follows the announcement of school being postponed.
If a game is rescheduled for the next day, most don’t get to practice the day before a game. If it’s a Monday storm, then most teams could go two days without a practice.
Added to this problem is another major problem of when will games be made up. The makeups dates have to be approved by both teams.
Rescheduling can force teams to play back-to-back during weekdays or force a team to play three or four games in a week if there are several postponed games during the season.
It’s also is hard to get officials for makeup games as most have already been assigned games for the makeup dates. This means the better officials are usually not available.
Availability of gyms and transportation can also be issues.
The postponements keep athletic directors busy as they are rescheduling events for all sports. One AD made 103 calls last Friday and another has had 12 games — six boys and six girls — postponed and rescheduled while many others canceled several practices.
It’s hard to keep a good basketball rhythm for the players if games are postponed or practices are canceled. Players are used to practicing and then playing while few have back-to-back games.
Unfortunately, even tournament games can be postponed.
When I was coaching at Orono High School in 1963, a Nor’easter hit the Greater Bangor area. Our Eastern Maine Class B championship game against Aroostook Central Institute (now Central Aroostook of Mars Hill) and the Class D East final were postponed to Monday so it wouldn’t interfere with the Class LL and M games.
Our finals were originally scheduled for Wednesday of vacation week because there were no girls tourneys yet and four boys tourneys with Class L and S Monday through Wednesday and Class LL and M Thursday through Saturday.
Our players and coaches had to ski or snowshoe to the Orono High School gym to practice as many roads weren’t plowed. ACI practiced in the Orono gym because it couldn’t get back to the Aroostook County for a couple of days.
With tourney play tipping off this season on Friday, Feb. 16, I’m hoping Mother Nature will be kind and provide postponement-free weather. I’m certain all the fans ADs, coaches, players, officials, tourney staff, bus drivers and media members will appreciate it.